The Gun Supremacists' Folly

Arming the Flock, and Everyone Else

Have we gone stark raving mad?

The question is brought to mind by the new gun law signed last week in Georgia by Gov. Nathan Deal. You might have thought that since the United States couldn’t possibly have more permissive firearms laws than it does now, nothing more could be done to coddle the gun lobby and tip the balance of our statutes away from law enforcement. Alas, you would be wrong.

The creativity of the National Rifle Association and other organizations devoted to establishing conditions in which every man, woman, and child in our nation will have to be armed is awe-inspiring. Where imagination is concerned, the best absurdist artists and writers have nothing on the NRA. No wonder Stephen Colbert has decided to move on from the realm of satire. When parody becomes reality, the challenges facing even a comedian of his talents can become insurmountable.

You might not have thought that the inability of people to pack while praying was a big problem. Georgia’s political leaders think otherwise, so the new law allows people to carry guns in their houses of worship. True, congregations can set their own rules, but some pastors wonder about the confusion this provision will create, and those who would keep their sanctuaries gun-free may worry about being branded as liberal elitists. Maybe the Georgia Legislature will help them by requiring a rewrite of the Scriptures. “Blessed are the peacemakers” can become “Blessed are the gun owners.”

You will also be able to tote weapons into bars and their parking facilities if the bar grants you permission. I can’t wait to see the next beer ad depicting a gunfight over who pays for the next round.

Georgia thinks you should be able to take guns into government buildings that don’t have screening devices or security guards. Second Amendment enthusiasts tend not to like tax increases, but as The Associated Press reported, the city of Vienna, Ga. (pop. 3,841), would have to shell out about $60,000 a year to increase security at city buildings. “Do we raise taxes to provide the police protection or do we take the risk of potential injury to our public?” asked Mayor Pro Tem Beth English, who also is president of the Georgia Municipal Association. Too bad if this gun lobby subsidy comes out of the school budget.

Oh yes, and while conservatives claim to hate the centralization of power, this law wipes out a series of local gun regulations. The gun supremacists just don’t trust those pesky local elected officials.

People with a gun license who try to carry a weapon onto an airplane get a nice break under this bill. If they’re caught with a gun at a security checkpoint, nothing happens as long as they leave the area. Try, try again. Watch out if you connect through Atlanta.

And law and order goes out the window. As Niraj Chokshi noted in The Washington Post, this statute gets rid of state requirements that firearms dealers maintain records of sales and purchases. Databases on license holders that span multiple jurisdictions are banned. Those who commit gun crimes must be chuckling, “Can you find me now?”

Nothing better reveals the utter irrationality of our politics for the whole world to see than this madness about guns -- and no issue better demonstrates how deeply divided our nation is by region, ideology, and party.

The New York Times found that in the twelve months after the Sandy Hook shootings, thirty-nine laws were enacted tightening gun restrictions; twenty-five were passed by state governments under full Democratic control. Seventy laws were passed loosening gun restrictions, forty-nine of them in Republican-controlled states. According to The Wall Street Journal, twenty-one states strengthened firearms restrictions in 2013, and twenty weakened them.

Nowhere else in the world do the laws on firearms become the playthings of politicians and lobbyists intent on manufacturing cultural conflict. Nowhere else do elected officials turn the matter of taking a gun to church into a searing ideological question. But then, guns are not a religion in most countries.

The program for the NRA’s annual convention, held over the weekend in Indianapolis, listed sessions on “Survival Mindset: Are You Prepared?”; “Creating a Constitutionally Centered Estate Plan”; and “Refuse to be a Victim.”

Party on, guys. I can’t wait for you to figure out the ways in which even Georgia’s law is too liberal. In the meantime, the nation’s unarmed majority might ponder how badly we have failed in asserting our own rights.

(c) 2014, Washington Post Writers Group

About the Author

E. J. Dionne Jr. is a syndicated columnist, professor of government at Georgetown University, and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. His most recent book is Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (Bloomsbury Press).



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Fire up the circular firing squad. Sound the clarion call to the OK Corral. It's now high noon in America. Even road rage will be met with deadly force.

Thank you.


Thanks for this. The ship of state has become a ship of fools, at least in Georgia.

I quote from the New York Times:

"The motorist, Steve Utash, was white. The mob, witnesses say, was made up of a dozen black men. A crowd of onlookers gathered while the mob beat Mr. Utash within an inch of his life. He was saved by Deborah Hughes, a black woman and a retired nurse who carries a .38. After attending to the child, who was not critically injured, Ms. Hughes lay across the body of Mr. Utash and promised herself that she would put a bullet in the next person to strike him."

It's difficult to "prove" or demonstrate lives saved by guns, they go unreported.  I am sure that the Times made a mistake when they allowed the above to be published in an op-ed on April 25th, 2014.

Perhaps there's a Georgian midrash on Matthew 26.52:  "Peter, put down your sword. . . (and grab your glock)."

Thanks, Mr. Dionne. I couldn't agree more.

Isn't it a hoot that attendees at the recent NRA convention were checked and required to leave their arms outside the auditorium?


By the way, editors, would you please remove the last "Thiel" under my name? I think I inadvertently put it there at some point in one of my posts.

I will stay out of bars and schools and churches in Georgia from now on and, in fact, the whole state.  I guess, if that is what they want, I can't object to drunken good ol' boys blazing away at each other, including in church, but I feel badly for the schoolchildren.

Strangely enough, as CNN reports here

the new law does not overturn existing laws which bar guns from the state capitol, right where the new law was conceived. Another instance of legislation the effects of which do not extend to the legislators.

Jesus just taught us through his Passion "Those who take up the sword shall parish by the sword." MT: 26:52.  Isn't anybody in Georgia listening!

The op-ed, which was published in the New York Times, was written by a Fox television host, Charlie LeDuff.  The actual news story, however, states that although Ms. Hughes was carrying a gun that day "she never took it out."  One of the men accused in the beating did take out his gun and threaten to shoot Mr. Utash.  Fortuately,he did not.  While it may be difficult to "prove"  that lives are saved by guns, it is tragically easy to count the tens of thousands of Americans killed every year by guns in homicides, suicides and accidents, especially the hudreds of children.  To mention just one recent tragedy, on April 29, 2014, a nineteen month old boy was shot and killed by his four year old brother in Wichita, Kansas.  The boy had found the loaded gun in a nightstand in his home.   

There was ONE sanctuary the new law deemed too holy for "gun freedom."

That was the Georgia State House.

Wouldn't want guns where the legislators themselves work.

As insane as they seem these days, that's probably a good idea.

Hi, Catherine.

You can change that by clicking "My Account" above, and using the "Edit" function.

John Walton, you're always going to be able to find true stories about how permissive gun laws save lives, just as there will always be true stories about vaccines killing people.

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