I think they’re trying to lure us into dropping our guard. Check out this piece from today’s NYT:
By KATE ZERNIKE
Paul Bucher, the district attorney for the Wisconsin county where a man opened fire in a church service last month, killing seven people and himself, has one answer to the deadly mass shootings around the country in recent weeks: more guns.
“The problems aren’t the guns, it’s the guns in the wrong hands,” said Mr. Bucher, a Republican who recently announced his candidacy for Wisconsin attorney general. “We need to put more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Whether having that would have changed what happened is all speculation, but it would level the playing field. If the person you’re fighting has a gun and all you have is your fists, you lose.”
You’ve got to admit, this is a sea-change for public officials to advocate arming the citizenry. Normally they try to avoid the topic completely if they aren’t rabid “ban-em all” anti-gunners.
Across the country, efforts to expand or establish laws allowing concealed handguns have been fueled by the horrifying shootings in the last month – of the family of a federal judge in Chicago, at the church service in Wisconsin, at courthouses in Atlanta and Tyler, Tex., and the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota.
In Texas and Illinois, the shootings prompted new legislation to allow judges and prosecutors to be armed. Legislators in Nebraska and Wisconsin, which were already considering allowing concealed weapons, say they think the shootings will help their cause.
Is it just common sense finally being beaten into the public psyche? I’d like to think so.
Even supporters of gun control acknowledge that the atmosphere is sharply different than it was in 1999 when the nation’s deadliest school shooting took place at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colo. Those shootings inspired gun-control proposals in Congress and in state legislatures, and forced gun advocates to retreat from legislation they hoped to pass, including a Colorado bill to allow concealed handguns.
Then, the National Rifle Association scaled back its national meeting, held in Denver soon after the Columbine shootings, to one day from three, and with 7,000 protesters shouting outside, used the occasion to declare its support for trigger locks and “absolutely gun-free” schools. By contrast, after the recent shootings in Red Lake, N.R.A. officials proposed arming teachers.
To the outrage of a few. But only a few. Maybe they are starting to grasp how asinine the concept of “gun-free schools,” or for that matter “gun-free” anywhere is.
Supporters of gun control express hope for some of their legislation, particularly in Illinois, where Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, both Democrats, are pushing for background checks on all weapons sales at gun shows and a ban on assault weapons.
But they say their best chance now is to try to hold the line against more laws allowing concealed handguns. “We were very much more on the offensive after Columbine,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “It’s just the way politics have worked. I hate to be in this position, but we are.”
My suggestion? Get used to it.
Instead of calling for new restrictions on guns after the Minnesota shootings, the coalition, which includes 45 groups, simply asked for “a dialogue on the role of firearms in America.”
We’ve “dialogued” ourselves out. You have your side, we have ours, and there is no middle ground. “Compromise” used to mean “giving up only half of what YOU demanded.” No more.
Opponents of gun control have had victories in Congress, which let the ban on assault weapons expire last fall, and in states, where the push to allow concealed handguns has been gathering momentum for two years. Since 2003, five states, most recently Ohio, have approved laws allowing people to carry concealed weapons.
Thirty-five states now require the authorities to issue permits for concealed handguns to most applicants as long as they do not have criminal records, and two, Alaska and Vermont, allow concealed weapons without a permit. Eleven others allow the local authorities discretion in issuing so-called concealed carry permits. Most states include some restrictions on where guns can be carried.
In Illinois, the bill allowing judges to be armed was filed after Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow’s mother and husband were killed. In Texas, a bill proposed after the shooting outside the Tyler courthouse in late February would allow district attorneys to carry weapons in court.
Yes, we know how rabid and unpredictable district attorneys are. There’ll be blood in the courts! Oh, wait, there’s already been “blood in the courts.”
“The advocacy groups want to take guns away from everyone, and in a perfect world, I’d agree with that,” said State Senator Larry Bomke of Illinois, a Republican who is sponsoring the bill there. “Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. The gangbangers and the criminal element are still going to get guns.”
Now, do you think you could explain that to the government of England?
Legislation in other states that already permit concealed guns would loosen restrictions on where guns can be carried. Bills in Arizona and Tennessee would allow guns in bars; one in Georgia would allow them in restaurants, after people complained it was dangerous to leave guns in their cars while they dined. Proposals in Texas and New Mexico would lower the age requirement for carrying concealed handguns.
The proposals tend to be initiated by Republicans, but not always; in Illinois, a bill allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons was sponsored by Democrats, and many Democrats joined the majority last month when the Tennessee Senate approved the bill on guns in bars, 29 to 3.
I’d like to believe that this is because these Democrats really understand the topic, but I think it’s more likely that they understand that gun control is a third-rail issue for them, and if they want to get re-elected (the first rule for any politician) they’d better be seen as “pro-choice” when it comes to the right to arms.
The police and prosecutors have tended to oppose allowing concealed handguns.
Not exactly true. The rank and file tend to support it. The elected and appointed (read: “politically connected”) police chiefs and upper administration tend to oppose it.
But Mr. Bucher, the district attorney in Wisconsin, said that was starting to change. As recently as two years ago, he was speaking out against the concealed-handguns law in Wisconsin; in 2000, he testified against it, arguing that the risks to the police during traffic stops would outweigh any potential benefits.
Now, he said, he believes that the legislation can address his concerns, and that the potential benefits are real.
Gun advocates see affirmation in some of the recent cases, in particular, the shooting in Tyler.
On Feb. 24, a man entering the courthouse to dispute a custody decision opened fire with an AK-47, killing his wife and wounding his son. A bystander carrying a concealed weapon began to shoot at him. The bystander was killed, but gun advocates say he distracted the killer and prevented more deaths.
This is the one paragraph in the piece that simply stuns me. This is in the NYT? Amazing.
State Senator Kevin Eltife of Tyler said he received a phone call from a prosecutor that night, asking him to propose the legislation allowing district attorneys to carry weapons in court. “With the things that have gone on lately, it doesn’t make sense that he can carry a weapon in his car but he can’t carry it in his place of work,” Mr. Eltife said.
Welcome to the world of the average prole, Mr. Eltife.
Prosecutors and judges in particular say they can end up as the targets of enormous venom – by criminals or those on the losing end of wrenching civil matters like child custody.
“The state doesn’t have money to provide security,” said Judge Daniel L. Schmidt of the Illinois Appellate Court in the Third District. “Do I want to carry it every day? Probably not. But it would be nice to know I could carry one if something came up.”
And the state isn’t responsible for your protection, anyway, even if you’re a judge or a prosecutor. You’re just far more likely to get it than John and Jane Public. Or Julie and Aeneas Hernlen.
Gun-control advocates take their own lessons from the recent shootings, noting that in Atlanta and Red Lake, the killers seized weapons from law enforcement officers.
Not that they would suggest disarming law enforcement officials, but advocates say the incidents show what can go wrong when more guns are added to the mix.
Though they conveniently ignore the fact that about three million new firearms are “added to the mix” each and every year, and more and more states have passed “shall-issue” concealed-carry laws, yet our violent crime rates have been falling since 1990.
Nope. Don’t confuse ’em with the facts. They know what they know: More guns = more death.
Except when it doesn’t.
“Police officers have the best training; people who get concealed-carry permits don’t have that training,” said Brian Malte, outreach director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who was the Colorado field director for the campaign when the Columbine shootings happened. “The worst thing that can happen in a church or school is where untrained people can shoot at each other.”
No, the “worst thing that can happen in a church or school” is what has been happening: an armed assailant attacks DEFENSELESS PEOPLE.
Mr. Malte said that once people realize what ratification of concealed weapons laws could mean, they would be less supportive of them. “It’s not only public spaces, it’s crowded sports stadiums, and day care centers and supermarkets.”
Except we have 37 states with CCW and not one dire prediction of the Brady Campaign has proven true. Insanity has been defined as “repeating the same action while expecting a different result.” I think that describes the opponents of concealed-carry quite well. We keep repeating passage of CCW, and they keep expecting CCW permit holders to run amok.
Gun-control groups may well gain victories. In Arizona, generally considered a pro-gun state, chances are good for a bill requiring background checks on all weapons sales at gun shows. And Mr. Malte said the Brady campaign hoped to pass the ban on assault weapons in Illinois and make that the start of a slow trend back toward gun control.
In Arizona, I don’t think so. In the People’s Republic of Illinois, I don’t know.
After all, he said, it took five years to pass California’s strict laws against assault weapons, and in favor of safety locks. That bill was signed three months after Columbine.
And it’s been so effective, hasn’t it?
So, a quick review: Gun control laws prove, at best, to be useless. However, laws passed that allow people to carry to defend themselves prove, at worst, to be benign.
And it appears that politicians and the majority of the public are finally starting to grasp this.
And so (maybe) is the New York Times.
Isn’t this one of the signs of the Apocalypse?