Rep. Carolyn “The shoulder thing that goes up” McCarthy and Sen. Frank “Terror Gap” Lautenberg have started a petition against H.R. 822, The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. The not-so-dynamic duo detail their arguments in a polemic at The Huffington Post. Tell President Obama: Stop the NRA From Making Our Laws the headline demands. Rep. McCarthy and Sen. Lautenberg seem to have no trouble allowing the Brady Campaign to write their legislation. Their opening paragraph displays the standard tactics of the antis: ad hominem attacks and breathless scare-mongering before adding a heapin’ helpin’ of howling hypocrisy…
Among the many dangerous bills that corporate lobbyists and the Tea Party are sending slithering through Congress is one supported by the NRA that not only flies in the face of states’ rights to set their own local laws, but is a direct threat to public safety for millions of Americans across the nation.
First of all, calling the gun lobby “corporate” is simply laughable. The NRA is supported by membership dues and folding cash in small denominations collected by volunteers (as opposed to paid staffers) manning tables at gun shows across the country. Another reason the antis are so desperate to get rid of gun shows?
This, in stark contrast to AstroTurf™ organizations like the Legal Community Against Violence, the Violence Policy Center, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence or Mayors Against Illegal Guns who suckled at the Joyce Foundation‘s prodigious teat, to the tune of $11,723,000 in 2010. In addition, saying that our “dangerous bill” “slithered” through Congress is another typical ad hominem attack. When the antis can’t address the substance of the issue they devolve to kindergarten style name calling.
Now let’s look at the part where they say that H.R. 822 “flies in the face of states’ rights to set their own local laws.” I’ve already beaten the segregation and voting rights horses to death, so let’s address the mind-bogglingly hypocritical part of the statement. Rep. McCarthy and Sen. Lautenberg have both introduced bills to close the “gun show loophole,” ban “assault weapons,” and make people on the terrorist watch list “prohibited persons.”
The energetic Rep. McCarthy has also introduced a bill to ban normal capacity magazines (on top of the ban contained in her “assault weapons” ban). Sen. Lautenberg has introduced a bill to “disarm wife-beaters.” Oddly enough, all of these laws would have be national in scope. Clearly, this unholy political partnership has no problem with their laws abrogating “states’ rights to set their own local laws.”
Finally, the bit where they state that this bill “is a direct threat to public safety for millions of Americans across the nation” is another bit of targeted slime, this time aimed at every law-abiding permit holder across the country. A charge which, oddly enough, they don’t attempt to substantiate in any way, shape or form. Okay I guess it’s not so odd given that all the evidence shows that people are actually safer in states with liberal Permit To Carry (PTC) laws. So not only is the charge unsubstantiated it’s completely insubstantial.
In the third paragraph, they drop the subtle logical fallacies, hyperbole and distortion. Since I would never accuse either of these fine Congresscritters of being so lazy or incompetent that they didn’t closely study legislation that is so manifestly important to them, they switch to the bread-and-butter tactic of the antis of flat out lying:
That means Texas Governor Rick Perry could decide who can carry a concealed weapon in your state — even if they have a criminal record that your state would consider a barrier to owning a gun.
Wow, that sounds dangerous! So what does 822 actually say regarding eligibility to carry in another state?
Section 926D(b): The possession or carrying of a concealed handgun in a State under this section shall be subject to the same conditions and limitations, except as to eligibility to possess or carry, imposed by or under Federal or State law or the law of a political subdivision of a State, that apply to the possession or carrying of a concealed handgun by residents of the State or political subdivision who are licensed by the State or political subdivision to do so, or not prohibited by the State from doing so.
Okay, that’s a real brain scrambler, so let’s break it down, shall we?
“The possession or carrying of a concealed handgun in a State under this section” means carrying concealed.
“[S]hall be subject to the same conditions and limitations, … that apply to the possession or carrying of a concealed handgun by residents of the State or political subdivision who are licensed by the State or political subdivision to do so” means you have to follow local laws as if you had a local PTC.
“[E]xcept as to eligibility to possess or carry, imposed by or under Federal or State law or the law of a political subdivision of a State, means, you don’t need to be a local with a local PTC. [O]r not prohibited by the State from doing so” means (and it is important), except state or local “prohibited persons.”
Basically, Subsection (b) says that so long as you follow the local laws, if you have a PTC, you can carry in any state that has permits—unless you are a “prohibited person” in that state. Someone with “a criminal record that your state would consider a barrier to owning a gun” will still be prohibited from carrying in “your state.”
The rest of their piece doesn’t even warrant parsing since it’s the same Chicken Little scare-mongering that we’ve heard from the antis for decades. Although they do manage to leave out the usual “blood in the streets” and “fender-bender firefights” claims, McCarthy and Lauteberg make no less than four references to the threat to “public safety” presented by law-abiding permit-holders.
That leaves two questions. Since when does crossing a state line turn someone from a law-abiding citizen into a raving psychotic? And why all the hubbub over a bill that we’re told has no chance of passing the Senate?