We’ve Got A Fever And The Only Cure Is MORE HANDGUNS!

I suppose it was inevitable that in the wake of the Tuscon tragedy the gun rights crowd would begin a push towards even more lax regulation on handguns. However, I would never have imagined that the response would be to leap over the cliff entirely. Even as some of the more reasonable observers called for a review of gun laws and urged the president to get involved in the debate (such as it is), the 2nd Amendment wackos saw it as an opportunity to flood the country with even more guns. Their twisted logic posits that the only way to combat gun violence is for everyone and their child to own a gun. Of course, it doesn’t matter that in Tuscon, an armed citizen, Joe Zamudio very nearly worsened the bloodshed.

So, in state after state, the response has been a call for every citizen to take up arms. Witness the spike in gun sales in Arizona and elsewhere  following the shooting. As we speak, many states’ legislatures are introducing bills that would expand the purview of conceal/carry laws to allow for guns in churches, schools and bars. South Dakota is even using loosened gun restriction as a political cudgel to attack Health Care Reform. Utah is even thinking of adding a gun to the list of official state symbols.

Not surprisingly, any mention that these various measures might be a bit misguided at best and completely crazy at worst is met with complete apoplexy by the gun rights crowd. Never mind that moderates lost the gun control debate a long time ago (the expiration of the federal ban on assault weapons being a prime example). Never mind that an undercover investigation by Michael Bloomberg, mayor of NYC and staunch advocate of stronger gun laws, proved that loopholes in the existing laws mean even more mentally ill people can get access to weapons with no trouble. No, gun fetishists will never be placated until every citizen is armed and dangerous at all times.

I should point out that I recognize the right to own firearms laid out in the 2nd Amendment. I may not agree with it but I accept that our constitution allows for it. What boggles my mind is that people who go on and on about “responsible gun ownership” can’t see how this rash of new, lax gun regulation is anything but responsible. One would imagine that most people could agree that the expanded magazine used by Jared Loughner serves no purpose other than allowing someone to fire more rounds without reloading. Fully automatic weapons serve no purpose other than allowing someone to fire more rounds in less time. Military-style assault weapons serve no purpose other than to kill enemies. Loopholes in laws for gun shows serve no purpose other than to circumvent attempts to stem the tide of gun violence.

I’m not even going to take up the issue of transparent propaganda used by the right to scare people into hoarding as many guns and bullets as possible. The point is that while firearms are an intrinsic part of America, those that believe in gun rights have to be willing to admit that some common-sense regulations on gun ownership are a good idea. I don’t know if they will ever be willing to give any ground but that can’t stop us from keeping up the pressure. Given the latest onset of gun fever, that pressure is more important now than ever.

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