The internets are abuzz re: this morning’s Frank Rich editorial: Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged. The New York Times’ liberal extremist builds on a previous Sunday magazine piece painting the Tea Party movement as a bunch of loons. Rich launches a dietribe [sic] linking the populist protest with terrorists and, well, deranged people. The only thing missing from Mr. Rich’s viscous and unfounded smearicle: a link to the movement’s belief in Second Amendment rights. Maybe that’s because his boss, publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., has a concealed carry permit. Or maybe Mr. Rich knows there is a pale beyond which he shouldn’t go. Nah. It’s coming. Meanwhile, the Arizona Sun’s editorial board has got its proverbial knickers in a twist re: the state’s move towards “Open Carry” gun laws (whereby legal citizens can carry firearms without a special licensing procedure). Here’s the headline again, complete with self-righteous rhetorical flourish: “Arming a bunch of amateur civilians in place of passing gun laws with teeth sends up the white flag of surrender in the battle for a civil society governed by laws, not force.” That’s how it ends, of course. Here’s how it starts . . .
Who knew that state Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican, had such disregard for the principle of local control?
But when it comes to guns, Pearce and most of his GOP colleagues in the Senate know better than local police, university officials and elected city councils. The fewer regulations and the more law-abiding citizens who carry loaded weapons, the better — end of discussion.
If Pearce were equally committed to the same stiff prison terms for using a gun in a crime as he is for using drugs or using an undocumented alien to mow your lawn, then his “open carry” philosophy might seem at least consistent. After all, law-abiding citizens should have nothing to fear from penalties for criminal gun use, should they?
But Pearce and his allies aren’t willing to go down that road — draconian penalties, he has told Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services, would entrap legal gun owners and discourage them from toting a gun.
Which makes no sense at all. I guess. Not when you consider the facts—or at least opinion dressed-up as facts.
Further, say police and researchers, most situations involving violence stem from domestic disputes and arguments involving alcohol between people who know each other. Neither party in these types of cases should have guns. And they certainly shouldn’t have them unless there are severe penalties for misusing them — penalties, as noted above, that aren’t on the books in Arizona.
John Lott pretty much destroyed these shibboleths in his book More Guns, Less Crime. (I tried to do my bit for common sense this morning.) But logic is no match for sarcasm, here or elsewhere. Like, um, The Arizona Sun.
Falling back on the supposed absolutes found in the Bill of Rights might sound simpler — if we all lived in the late-18th century. But the right to bear arms in public referred to muzzle-loaders taken up in defense of country. How that applies to carrying high-powered rifles down the streets of crowded, 21st-century cities is known mainly to the NRA and few others.
Too bad the framers of the Constitution couldn’t see the future, eh? Or, alternatively, thank God they could.