Saturday, April 07, 2012


David Horsey has a timely column up on the "Stand Your Ground" laws that keep popping up all over the country. The NRA certainly has had its way of late (the last twenty years), but has that organization and its adherents finally reached it's limit? Probably not.

To stifle any incipient sense of security, gun-rights advocates have been busy inventing new laws to solve problems that do not exist. The now-controversial "stand your ground" law in Florida is a fine example of this. Before the legislation was passed, nobody had gotten into serious trouble for using a gun to rightfully defend himself in the Sunshine State. Nevertheless, with the urging of the NRA, the Florida Legislature became the first in the nation to pass a law guaranteeing citizens the right to start shooting instead of running if they feel threatened.

Since the law took effect, the number of Florida gun owners killing someone and successfully claiming justifiable homicide has tripled. This means either that a lot of people had been running away before or that quite a few people are now exploiting the law to bump somebody off and then claim self-defense.

Either/or, it's a chilling scenario, one that will become increasingly frosty, especially come August in Tampa when the Republican National Convention comes to town. Convention organizers have already issued rules on what cannot be carried in the area outside the convention hall (where the Secret Service has the final say). Everything from scissors to umbrellas with metal tips are banned. What isn't banned, however, are guns, something a New York Times editorial notes.

Tampa officials wanted to ban handguns outside the convention hall (the Secret Service has undisputed power to ban weapons inside the hall) but came up against the state law, which imposes $100,000 fines on local governments that try to meet such obvious public-safety needs. This lethal parody of gun control should be repealed, like the notorious Stand Your Ground law. But voters cannot expect common sense from the Republican-controlled Legislature, which is on a leash held by the gun lobby. ...

Political leaders mindful of public safety should be able to solve Tampa’s gun control problem. But there’s scant few of them in the statehouse. The scene developing in Tampa is a national embarrassment that spotlights how timorous American politicians are before the gun lobby.

A recipe for disaster? Probably. But as Atrios pointed out, "Republicans have been desperate to create gun heaven, and now they have it. What's the problem? "

Heh, indeedy.

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