There’s an amendment to a Senate defense planning bill that would allow people licensed to carry concealed weapons in one state to carry them into others. The architect of this foolishness is Sen. John Thune, Republican of South Dakota.
The defense bill is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday. Thune argues the amendment would have the effect of reducing crime.
There are 21 co-sponsors, meaning just over one fifth of the Upper House agrees with him.
To people living in urban areas, the meaning of this amendment should be clear. Gun rights advocates are pressing their agenda at the expense of innocent men, woman and children who will die if it passes. Thune and his NRA- financed cronies use the same tired argument that the amendment will not open the door to more handgun violence. They don’t say what’s to stop a person bent on revenge, for example, from crossing state lines, buying a gun where state laws are lax, coming back into their home state, and using it.
Then there’s the question of why this amendment is part of a defense bill in the first place. Yeah, I know Congress does this all the time, that is, insert amendments having little to do with the actual legislation in an effort to either sneak it by or kill the bill. Whatever the reason, cooler heads in the Senate need to defeat this amendment once and for all. Congressional Republicans think they smell blood. They think there are certain issues they can press or beat down, depending on how much damage it will do to President Obama.
Health care reform is one. This guns across state lines amendment is another. Make no mistake. This plays into the fears that have been expressed since Obama became president that he would “take everyone’s guns away”. Maybe that explains why the White House hasn’t said too much about it, at least not yet. Senators representing states with tough gun control laws, like Lautenberg of New Jersey and Schumer of New York are speaking out. Lautenberg correctly pointed out that this is on one level a state’s rights issue.
President Obama threatened to veto this same defense bill in its entirety if spending for F-22 fighter jets were included.
The Senate blinked and voted to strip the spending. He needs to do the same thing with this bone to the gun lobby. And the senators who are pushing the amendment ought to explain to police officers in their home states how and why they would sponsor a piece of legislation that puts their lives in jeopardy. Don’t think it does? Ask a cop.
So, in the end, will this amendment to let people carry concealed weapons across state lines pass or fail? You tell me.