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Guns are bad and everyone knows it. So declares Dahlia Lithwick in Slate. The proof is in our tendency towards NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) double standards while addressing the issues related to gun ownership and carry laws.
The NIMBY factor is what is at work every time a legislature affords sweeping and generous gun rights to everyone, except people likely to shoot at them. So when the Georgia legislature passed its infamous “guns everywhere” bill this spring, it allowed for the carrying of weapons virtually everywhere, including in bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and parts of airports.
But, oddly enough, guns were not permitted in the state Capitol, which is, according to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, “a uniform carved-out area all across our state.” Convenient.
There is a relatively recent invention of which Dahlia may not be aware of called “metal detectors.” As the name suggests, they can detect metal. The Georgia state capital searches everyone who enters to insure they are not carrying a gun before gaining access. While inside, you can be reasonably confident that if someone threatens your life, they will not be doing so with a gun. As such, you have no need to carry for self-defense purposes.
What eludes Dahlia is fact that most government buildings, and virtually all schools, churches, and restaurants, don’t search for weapons before granting entrance to their patrons. As leftists are prone to doing, she takes it as an article of faith that gun-free zones prevent guns from entering.
And last year GOP Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas held a meeting to deride the whole idea of “gun-free zones” (seeking to repeal legislation making schools gun-free).
Step one: Pass law that declares schools gun free.
Step two: …
Step three: Schools gun free!
The Obamacare insurance mandate at least proves liberals consistent when it comes to this impulse. When faced with the problem of too many Americans living without health insurance, the Democrats responded by outlawing being uninsured. I eagerly await their ban on poverty.
In an interview this week, Adam Winkler, who teaches law at UCLA and is the author of the important book Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, wondered whether there wasn’t a tiny bit of judicial NIMBYism at work in the Supreme Court’s persistent refusal to take another Second Amendment case since 2010, despite conflicts among the appeals courts. “They had good cases presented this term,” he said. “They chose not to take the cases despite a split in the circuits. I wonder if that is at all related to the fact that the city they live and work in has some of the strictest gun regulations in the country.”
Slate is a truly groundbreaking outlet if they can read the minds of Supreme Court justices and divine secret motives. If these powers only extended to the broader population, they might become profitable.
But it gets better. Way better. You know what else is a gun-free NIMBY zone? The NRA Convention.
Hanging curveball on the way Frank; get ready.
And as ThinkProgress documented just last year, most gun shows also ban loaded weapons because “Safety is our Number One Priority, and a safe environment in the show can only be maintained if there are no loaded guns in the show.” It’s impossible not to see at least some NIMBYism at work when, as here, legislators beholden to the NRA vote one way when it comes to allowing loaded guns to be carried anywhere, and vote quite differently when those weapons are anywhere near them.
Again, Dahlia cannot imagine any reason for such a rule aside from her nursery school understanding of guns being bad, and everyone (including the NRA) knowing it. Gun shows and stores are places where numerous people will be actively handling, and manipulating guns. In an environment such as this, it is foolish for people to try and remember which guns may be loaded and which may be unloaded. Any gun owner with half a brain keeps their loaded magazines far away from unloaded ones that they may do dry practice with. Most even paint, or otherwise label practice magazines so there is no chance they will ever accidentally load one, and risk a negligent discharge at a future date.
Rules banning loaded weapons at gun shows protect against user error, they do not verify liberal fears that guns are evil, and gun supporters know it. A modern pistol cannot fire on its own. Not when dropped, and certainly not when properly holstered. A holstered gun does not instantly render the space it occupies more dangerous than it otherwise would be. Only a human can do that when reaching for one. And if a man is willing to shoot another man unprovoked, and violate the most basic of moral prohibitions (thou shalt not murder), what power does “thou shalt not carry a gun into this establishment” have to stop them from doing so?
None. I know it, you know it, and I suspect Dahlia knows it.
Beneath all the bluster and financial obligation there lies a recognition that when huge groups of armed citizens gather in small spaces, it’s probably a good idea to take away their guns, most especially if you’re going to be there.
I actually have more common cause with her on this point then one might assume. What she forgets in this piece is that if you want to take away a person’s guns during such a gathering, you have to actually address step two, and take away their guns. Simply declaring them banished accomplishes next to nothing. A school that has armed guards and screens every entrant for weapons would seem an ideal gun-free zone. One where wishful thinking is relied on to keep killers away seems less so.