I sympathize with GOP Rep. Peter King’s security concerns.
But he’s doing an embarrassing Chicken Little dance in the wake of the Tucson massacre.
Apparently compelled to jump ahead of all the liberal gun-grabbers in Washington, GOP Rep. King has drafted a bill to ban law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms within 1,000 feet of government officials and federal judges:
“It is imperative that we do all that we can to give law enforcement the tools they need to ensure the safety of New Yorkers and prevent an attack before it happens,” King said at a news conference with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “That is why, as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Illegal Guns, I will be introducing legislation that would make it illegal to knowingly carry a gun within a 1,000 feet of certain high-profile government officials.”
Will there be a mobile Shield Patrol around the privileged “high-profile government officials” to demarcate the 1,000-foot no-gun zone? Or perhaps they will now encase themselves in a giant plastic bubble in public?
How, one wonders, will Rep. King meet the new GOP requirement to cite constitutional authority for this headline-driven encroachment on liberty?
Rep. King, meet Christina Green’s father, would you?
More to the point, how would this panic-button bill have prevented the mentally unstable Jared Loughner — who had no respect for laws, let alone words, grammar, decency, or life — from carrying out the Tucson rampage in the first place?
It wouldn’t have.
Scrap this crap — and apologize for losing your head.
Andrew McCarthy shreds the proposal to proper pieces:
First, in our system, gun possession is constitutionally protected activity. Second, the vast majority of gun-owners in our country are law-abiding American citizens, and there is abundant reason to think that they actually make things safer.
Third, what we commonly call public servants are actually public representatives. Although they should “serve,” many of them are in politics to aggrandize themselves at our expense. Regardless of that, though, their actual job is to be our voice in government. Rep. King’s proposal would put another barrier between law-abiding American citizens and the elected officials who represent those citizens. The suggestion is that law-abiding Americans should be put to a choice between their right to petition government and their right to bear arms. In any other context but the Second Amendment, I daresay that requiring Americans to forfeit one right in order to exercise another would be rejected out of hand as unconstitutional.
Fourth, and finally, the people who would be a threat to our political representatives, like the people who might be a threat to me, are not law-abiding Americans. They are enemy operatives, criminals, or the mentally disturbed. As to the former, once you have crossed the Rubicon of plotting murder, you are not going to be backed up by a law that criminalizes carrying a weapon within a certain distance of your target. For the latter, the laws don’t matter.
Rep. King’s proposal penalizes only the law-abiding, in a way that affects their fundamental rights, without having any effect on the people he is actually worried about — assassins and the deranged. I don’t think Americans should have to tolerate a situation in which their rights are circumscribed, through no fault of their own, by society’s lowest common denominator.
Andrew Moylan quips: “I’d like to see legislation banning Congress from coming within 1,000 feet of law-writing materials after a national tragedy.”