Thursday, July 23, 2009

States' Gun Regulations Upheld In Defeat Of Concealed Weapons Amendment

For once, sanity prevailed when a bill that would have violated the right of states to uphold their own gun regulations was defeated:

The Senate on Wednesday turned aside the latest effort by gun advocates to expand the rights of gun owners, narrowly voting down a provision that would have allowed gun owners with valid permits from one state to carry concealed weapons in other states.

...“Lives have been saved with the defeat of this amendment,” Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and a leading opponent of the amendment, said in a statement. “The passage of this amendment would have done more to threaten the safety of New Yorkers than anything since the repeal of the assault weapons ban.”

Schumer (upper left) is absolutely right. I dread to think about the prospect of legalizing concealed weapons in the subway. One armed hothead during the rush hour is all that's needed for an episode of carnage. Schumer was joined in his effort by Mayor Bloomberg and other mayors:

...Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group of more than 400 mayors headlined by Mr. Bloomberg and Thomas M. Menino of Boston, sent a letter to Mr. Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California pointing out that at least 31 states required gun owners to take a firearms training course to receive a permit and that at least 35 states banned those convicted of certain misdemeanors from carrying a concealed weapon.

“The vast majority of states have set minimum requirements for obtaining a permit to carry a concealed gun,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement, “and Congress should respect those laws instead of trying to usurp them.”

The attempted usurpation of local laws demonstrates hypocrisy on the part of Republicans:

The debate forced senators to wrestle with issues of states rights, sometimes in ways that seemed to clash with the general philosophies of their parties. Many Republicans, who typically favor limiting the ability of the federal government to dictate to states on social issues, voted in this case to limit the ability of states to insist on their own rules for concealed weapons carried by people from other states.

...Critics of the amendment argued that it would undermine state and local gun-control laws, and accused Republican supporters, typically staunch defenders of states’ rights, of hypocrisy.

This is not the first time that the Republicans have violated their principle of states' rights. Despite a 1996 statewide voters' initiative, Proposition 215, that made marijuana legal for medicinal purposes in California, the Bush administration undertook federal raids on medicinal marijuana providers. Those who support a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman seek to deny the laws of states that have recognized the marriage equality rights of gays. The attempt to supplant state gun regulations is part of the same pattern.

"States' rights" is a fine principle for conservatives when they happen to agree with the rights in question. When they don't, the states' rights concept is jettisoned, its supposed proponents are revealed as hypocrites and their principles are exposed as mere rhetoric. 

1 comment:

Davin said...

Some years ago, when Johnny Carson
ran the "Tonight Show," a comical character named "Professor Edwin Corey" argued that we must all bear guns. But then his punch line came, "But bullet must be banned."

Obviously, Corey was trying through humor to alert us to the dangers of guns in society. Thankfully, his wise, if comically communicated message, has now received a boost.