The gun lobby rarely thinks about the consequences to public safety of their support for bad gun laws. Their extremist leaders (and I am talking here about the NRA) have convinced their members and politicians that common sense doesn't matter any more regarding gun policy. In the case of getting bad gun bills passed, anything goes. Thus we end up with problems such as this one in Indiana. Here is the original story about the Indiana family man who decided to flaunt his openly carried gun at a local zoo.
I sometimes go to the zoo with my grandchildren to enjoy the animals and watching the kids interact with and learn about animal life. My husband and I had a chance to do just that at the Minnesota Zoo in August with all 4 of our grandchildren. We all have great memories of being together as a family since 2 of my grandchildren live out of state and were in Minnesota for a visit. Had we seen a man carrying a loaded gun in his holster around the zoo, it would have affected our enjoyment. Really, wouldn't you rather look at the animals than the gun nuts walking around with guns in their holsters? Perhaps a tee shirt like this one would be more appropriate at the zoo. Arming bears just might be safer than gun nuts bearing arms.
The NRA extremists want the public to get comfortable with people carrying loaded guns around in public places. Plain and simply, the public does not want to see people with loaded guns in places like zoos, churches, schools, soccer games, family restaurants, etc. I have written way too many times on this blog about accidental discharges when concealed or openly carried guns have fired as they were dropped or misused. Guns are dangerous weapons designed to kill people. I just don't get the need to display a loaded gun in public. There is a voyeurism or a macho thing or flaunting of authority here that is pervading the gun rights movement. It may be backfiring. The pro gun writer in the first linked article above misses the point when he writes this:
But now, here we have folks who are planning on going to our local zoo and city parks to stage an“open carry party.” This is no game. Do they have any idea of how quickly they can unravel hard work, late nights and early mornings, I mean early, in getting SB 292 passed? Where were they when we needed them to call and come to our meetings? They were too busy, they had parties to go to, movies to see, ball games to attend and dinner dates.Yes, this is no game. Carrying loaded guns around in public ( at ball games, movies and dinner dates) is no game. It's serious business. Those legislators in Indiana should have thought through their support for the NRA when they voted to pass this bad bill. How did they think this would turn out? One legislator is now having second thoughts as well he should. But all they are thinking about is that they can't vote against the NRA or else... or else what? What happens to legislators who have the nerve to speak up for what's right in the first place? What bad things happen to those in Congress who have the nerve to stand up for common sense?. The NRA would have us believe that there are consequences for voting one's conscience and voting with the majority of Americans who don't want guns in public places. Are they right? In fact, see this article as proof that one can win office by being in favor of sensible gun laws. Kudos to politicians willing to speak the truth.
Carrying loaded guns at zoos will be coming to a state near you if Congress votes to allow gun permit holders to "exercise their rights" wherever they go in this country (H.R. 822). They want people in my state to be comfortable with people who don't have the same permitting requirements in their own states, to carry guns anywhere. We would be in a "race to the bottom" as New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg writes in this piece. Is this what we want in our country? The NRA wants people in states where "open carry" is not allowed to be comfortable with people with holsters strapped to their hips. Is this what we want in our country? Do these guys know that even in the Wild West, people had to check their holsters at the city limits? " "Leave Your Revolvers At Police Headquarters, and Get a Check."" This quote from Adam Winkler's book, Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, is just one of many revealing the myths perpetrated by the media about guns in America. Is the Wild West myth still alive in this country? Some gun rights extremists seem to think so. Constitutional carry is an example of gun rights advocates going too far. Few want these bills but we get them anyway. I don't think most elected leaders want them either but they vote for them anyway. There are exceptions, of course, as some of our nation's Governors, Senators and Representatives carry loaded guns with them in public places and support laws that allow these dangerous policies.
So, just remember that when NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre famously said, "Our founding fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules", he wasn't kidding. Take heed America. The guys with the guns are not only making the rules, they are flaunting the rules and flaunting their guns in public places. I don't believe this is good public policy for our country. Our elected leaders owe the public the courage and decency to make sure they are protecting us from harm in public places. As long as the NRA gets its' way, that will not happen.
(This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program. The fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.)