While the Billings Gazette charitably headlined their story “Several pro-gun proposals before the 2013 Legislature,” a more accurate title may have been “Gun Extremists Ignore the Law, Common Sense, and Student Safety to Satisfy Their NRA Bosses.” I probably won’t ever get a job writing headlines, but I think mine more accurately conveys the sentiment of the Montana Republicans who won’t be satisfied, it seems, until Montana’s schoolchildren are being armed with automatic weapons and indoctrinated to resist the federal government.
Consider their proposals: a bill to allow hunting rifles on school property, a bill to make confidential public records about concealed weapons, and a bill to nullify federal gun control measures. That’s all before you get to a proposal written by disgraced paralegals to amend the Constitution.
My favorite has to be the proposal to allow hunting rifles on school grounds. I can remember seeing rifles in the parking lot when I was in high school, but I suspect legislators pushing this bill also make their phone calls by asking the operator to directly connect to an individual. Times have changed and the danger of guns at school is far more pronounced. Maybe the publicly funded charter schools some legislators want to create will have the resources to decide if the weapons in trucks and cars are “for hunting,” but the principals I know have far more pressing issues to deal with.
The proposal to protect addresses of those with concealed weapons is even more factually-challenged. Its sponsor, Senator Terry Murphy claimed that burglaries have happened because of permit requests before acknowledging that he might have been mistaking random things he heard on the Internet for actual facts. It’s terribly reassuring to know that our legislators are continuing their proud tradition of writing gun laws based on what is misinformation at best, outright lies at the worst.
Finally, of course, we have Krayton Kerns, who wants to put on his rebel cap and resist the Union forces of oppression once more:
Another Montana bill in the works would prohibit state law enforcement from enforcing any federal ban on semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines.
The whole sordid collection of idiotic gun laws from the Republican caucus is illustrative of the gun lobby’s notion of compromise: faced with a nation increasingly willing to regulate guns and ammunition in the wake of the Newtown and Aurora tragedies, they’ve positioned themselves even further to the right, to a place never envisioned by the Founders.
We do need a national and local dialogue on guns and violence in our communities. We’re just not going to be able to have it when gun extremists are moving so far from the center and reason that they can’t even see either any longer.