What is as predictable as a threatened snowstorm bringing Atlanta to a standstill? Answer – gun control advocates taking advantage of every shooting incident as an excuse to further restrict Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The recent shooting incident in Tucson, Arizona — involving a clearly deranged individual who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a federal judge and several other innocent people – is no exception.
Doctors had barely announced that Rep. Giffords had survived the shooting, than gun-control legislators in the nation’s capitol began trotting out their latest anti-gun schemes. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Democrat of New York, was in the forefront of this effort. Close behind Ms. McCarthy was her Empire State colleague, Republican Peter King. While most anti-firearms proposals emanating from the Congress are simply ineffective or unworkable; King’s most recent proposal is utterly idiotic.
In response to the Tucson shooting — in which the gunman showed up at a public, outdoor town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Giffords in the parking lot of a local shopping center — King has proposed what has to be one of the silliest pieces of federal legislation in many a year. He has suggested the federal criminal code be amended to incorporate a new provision making it illegal for a person to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of a Member of Congress.
One might suppose that – were King’s proposal to actually become law — Members of Congress would have to walk around at all times with some obvious form of identification readily discernible to everyone within 333-1/3 yards of their presence; something that identifies them as a “Member of Congress.” Perhaps it would be required that every Member at all times wear a large hat with the congressional seal emblazoned thereon; or a distinctly colored sweatshirt with the words, “MEMBER OF THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,” printed thereon in a bright, contrasting color.
In the absence of such clearly identifying garb, it would be impossible for every individual to know for certain they were within 1,000 feet of a Member of Congress; in order to ensure they moved beyond the protective zone or so they could dispose of any firearm they might lawfully be carrying at the time. Because such scenario would be unworkable in the real world, perhaps the alternative is what King and others really have in mind – forcing everyone to assume at all times that a Member of Congress might be lurking somewhere within 1,000 feet of them, and insofar as every such Member is not necessarily known to every other citizen, one would be forced to presume at all times that such person might be nearby and therefore it never would be safe to carry a firearm.
The King legislation also would preclude a Good Samaritan lawfully carrying a firearm from using their gun to stop a deranged shooter; such as actually happened in Tucson.
These possibilities illustrate the idiocy of even considering a federal law to prohibit the carrying of a firearm within a certain number of feet of a Representative or Senator; but it is unlikely King or other gun-control advocates in the Congress engaging in typical, knee-jerk reaction to a shooting incident, will be deterred.
That it already is a violation of federal law to threaten a Member of Congress or other federal official with a firearm, or to use such a weapon, or even to attempt or conspire to do so, seems irrelevant to King and his anti-gun colleagues. But in their world, the response to every problem is always to propose more laws rather than simply to recognize that not every deranged person can always be stopped before they commit random or premeditated acts of violence. In their world also, better and more consistent enforcement of existing laws is secondary always to proposing more laws; no matter how idiotic.
-by Bob Barr, The Barr Code