Sunday, April 10, 2005

Winning on Guns

It was a long struggle. What first began to tip me into the anti-leftist camp was the gun issue, about 15 years ago. It seemed nearly impossible to make progress, given the negative-gun slant the media relentlessly applied.

And now I see this stunning admission by the media:
With more than four out of five states allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons, that argument is finished. Now, the nation's long-running argument over guns turns on how much to loosen the rules — should guns be allowed in judge's chambers? Bars? In workplace parking lots?
The push for concealed weapons began in the late 1980s, when all but 10 states refused to allow residents to do so, or only allowed it in special circumstances. But starting in 1989, those barriers fell. Now it's up to 46, with 35 states allowing just about anyone who is not a felon to get a permit.
Violence hasn't subsided this year, from courthouse shootings in Atlanta and Tyler, Texas, to the school killings at Red Lake, Minn., the most deadly since Columbine. But the reaction has spurred something far different, drawing on the idea that if the victims had weapons they might not be victims.

"At the scene of these crimes, despite all the good intentions of the police, the prosecutors, the courts, the judges — they're all coming in later," said Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association. "The country as a whole is taking another look, across the board, at the idea that maybe it makes good sense to allow people to protect themselves in as many situations as possible."

Current legislation in some cases is a direct response to the recent shootings, though often predates it. In recent weeks:

_Florida legislators passed a measure allowing people to "meet force with force" to defend themselves without fear of prosecution, extending the right from their homes to anywhere they're legally allowed to be. Gov. Jeb Bush said he intends to sign it.

_Arizona's Senate approved letting people carry guns into bars and restaurants, as long as they're not drinking. The House has yet to act.

_North Dakota legislators approved removing the shooting test needed for a concealed-weapon permit, though the bill awaits final approval from the governor.
Still, the struggle hasn't all been one-sided.

Missouri, where legislators approved a concealed-weapon law even though a statewide referendum rejected it in 1999, gave cities the right to restrict weapons on city-owned property. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor John Street, both Democrats, are studying sweeping changes.
Maybe this media story is a rear-guard attempt to spur a counter-strike. What's up with PA? Everything I've heard about Rendell has sounded like a disaster. Let's hope the legislature doesn't listen.


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