A Stones Throw 6-5-14


I have come to the conclusion that we do not have a gun controversy in this country. Instead, we have a gun hypocrisy.

And – It goes both ways.

I find it interesting that strong gun control – even gun elimination – advocates such as President Obama, Senate leader Mitch McConnell, and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi all continue (perhaps continued in Pelosi’s case) to be protected by gun carrying Secret Service agents.

I have never seen nor heard reports that any of these high-profile politicians have, or are willing to have, the agents assigned to protect them disarm themselves.

I wonder why. Is it because they value their safety and the safety of their families more than they value the safety of the common citizen?

An interesting question – one that might be answered by gun advocates that feel every law-abiding citizen should have the right to carry a gun for self-protection. These advocates have managed to get laws passed in several states that make it legal to carry guns almost everywhere.

Everywhere, except where these lawmakers work.

In fact, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, 18 states have passed laws allowing guns in places such as schools, restaurants, churches, bars, and other public places. At the same time, only four of these states allow guns into their legislatures.

Fourteen of the 18 states do not allow law-abiding citizens to carry guns into the legislative chambers.

The reasoning?

Steve Hickey, a South Dakota state legislator, explains.

Hickey strongly advocates that gun carrying citizens make public places safer. He feels strongly enough about this position to introduce and sponsor a bill that allows teachers to carry guns in school. He has supported bills allowing guns in most public workplaces.

However – at the same time he opposed a bill that would let law-abiding citizens bring guns into the statehouse.

Hickey’s reasoning: “This is different than when you go work at a bar. This is different than you working at the bank. We have the most contentious issues being debated in public policy, affecting people in irate, angrily ways and affecting millions and millions of dollars.”

In other words, allowing people to carry guns into a crowded bar where heavy drinking, boisterous arguments, and the occasional brawl will somehow make the bar safer.

At the same time, using Hickey’s reasoning, the contentious arguments among legislators is far more dangerous than the angry arguments of those partaking alcohol in a bar. An argument about where to spend the taxpayer’s money is more dangerous than an argument over a woman – or a man.

Every day there are dozens, if not hundreds, of incidents of gun violence inside and outside of bars and other public places – even without laws that allow guns in these places.

I wonder how many incidents of gun violence happen each day inside or outside a state legislature. The answer is either none, not many, or I just don’t read the right newspapers or listen to the right news reports.

Still, Steve Hickey – and many others – including in Indiana – feel allowing guns in bars, schools, and other public places add to safety – as long as those guns are not allowed where those legislators work.

For instance, Indiana recently passed a law that allows guns to be kept in vehicles on school property – but does not allow law-abiding citizens to bring guns into the legislature.

If guns on the school grounds make the school’s students safer, wouldn’t guns in the legislature make the legislators’ safer?

Thus the hypocrisy.

In a strange way, both gun advocates and gun abolitionists have a common ground – both agree the average citizen should have different rules when it comes to their workplace than when it comes to the legislator’s workplace or for our country’s leaders.

The adage “both are the same – but different” really fits when discussing gun issues.

I think it is time for any political leader, or former leader, who advocates stronger gun controls, even the abolition of guns, to eliminate all guns and other weapons from those assigned to protect them.

At the same time, I think it is time for all those who advocate that law-abiding citizens have the right to carry guns into the workplace of others should be required to allow those same citizens to carry guns into the workplace of those advocates.

Including into state legislatures and into Congress.

If both of these things happened, we would have a “gun controversy.”

Until then, all we have is a “gun hypocrisy.”

Personally, I hope our leaders continue to be protected to the fullest – including with gun carrying agents. I also support the right for law-abiding citizens to own and carry guns – just not into my workplace – or any other workplace – especially not in schools or on school grounds.

Does this make me a “gun hypocrite” too?

– Mike Cooney