Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Worst Gun Control Idea Yet?

It looks like Rep. Peter King (R NY) is about to break rule #5 in the above video: Legislate carefully.

According to this news story (hat-tip to Ruchira Paul) he is going to propose legislation to that would make it " illegal to knowingly carry a gun within 1,000 feet of the president, vice president, members of Congress or judges of the Federal Judiciary.

Is there any rational basis for such a law? I don't know if actual data on this are available, but it seems very likely that, except for the President, who is already heavily guarded, these people are less likely to meet a violent end that is the general population.

Members of Congress already have the right (which seems reasonable enough to me) to be accompanied by federal marshals any time they feel they are at risk.

This law would offer government officials another level of protection (whether it would really protect them is doubtful, but that is the intention behind the measure) that is denied ordinary mortals. It puts me in mind of old laws that held that "the person of the king is sacred and inviolable" (an actual quote from the Austrian constitution of 1848).

Those were the bad old days when people thought kings are very special sorts of people and the rest of us are not. Now we have democracy and believe in equality.

Or do we? Proposals like this one convince me that most of us do not truly, in our hearts, believe in equality at all. The nation is now virtually in mourning because a Congresswoman was shot in Arizona. It may be my imagination, but I think other mass killings on a similar scale have gotten less than half the obsessive coverage, attention, and threatened new legislation that this one has gotten. A few days before the Arizona atrocity, a 68 year old grandfather was killed by police in a botched drug raid in Massachusetts. And yet you would have to dig very deep to find that story. (Here it is.) What is the huge difference between Rep. Giffords and him?

Even if I thought that King's proposal would work, and would make officials safer than they already are, I would probably still be against it. These people should live in the same environment as the rest of us.


Anonymous said...

I believe that under the GOP's new rules each bill has to state the Constitutional authority that allows Congress to enact the law. It will be interesting to see which part of the Constitution Mr. King feels authorizes Congress to pass such legislation.

Ann said...

Someone on Twitter proposed an alternate bill: it shall be unlawful for any citizen with money in their pocket to approach, within 1000 feet, any Member of Congress or bureaucrat. I second that emotion. :-)

Lester Hunt said...


Yes, that would get closer to the root of the problem!