Following the attack on Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the crowd that gathered to participate in her “Sidewalk Congress,” a renewed call, as always in the wake of another American shooting tragedy, went up around Arizona and elsewhere for a tighter, and more sane, gun policy.
It’s well known that Arizona is the darling state of NRA, led by its governor Jan Brewer, herself the proud holder of an NRA A+ rating and it’s legislator’s most fanatic gun-rights spokesman, senator Russell Pearce.
In the aftermath of the Tuscon shooting, an event with added horror by the fact that a member of congress was attacked and the gathering was seen as grassroots democracy at its best, there was a sense that maybe, just maybe, this was the act of senseless gun violence that would change hearts and minds, at least in Arizona, where Gabrielle Giffords serves the state’s 8th District.
No such luck. Three weeks after the shooting, with Giffords making a remarkable recovery but still far out of the woods in Houston, Governor Brewer announced that she was seeking ways to “liberalize” Arizona’s gun-rights policy. Under other circumstances and in most states, one with a more humane life outlook could depend on at least a breath or two of opposition among ruling party members who might possibly see the outrageous absurdity of calling for more, not fewer, guns, and to be allowed in more places, without permits, than ever before. . . .
But Arizona isn’t any other state and the legislature still governs with an old-west mentality. In late 2009 the state passed its concealed weapon without permit ruling. It followed up with some extra crazy sauce by ruling that any citizen could carry a concealed weapon into a bar, but to make sure a patron with a few too many didn’t pull a gun and shoot someone, the law stated that it was illegal to drink in a bar while carrying a concealed weapon. What one might be doing in a bar if not to drink was never addressed.
The latest to come out of the Arizona state capital is the capstone of fear that drives the gun proliferation advocates. Senator Pearce proposed on February 7th, with typical backing of the republican majority, that guns be allowed in all public places. To make sure cities across the state don’t pass their own counter measure , the proposal would require an owner of a public establishment to either hire armed guards or install expensive metal detectors. The financial burden on business owners opposed to the law would, of course, be prohibitive, and the responsibility of every municipal government to protect its citizenry from gun packers in a public place would be taken out of their hands. For Pearce and his ilk there’s no such thing as too many guns. If everyone’s carrying, the logic goes, then we’re all safer. That’s why Pearce violates his own governing body’s prohibition of guns in the legislature with a don’t- ask-don’t-tell policy on guns in the legislature.
The next target is schools. If the current proposal to allow guns in all public places becomes law, teachers, and, very possibly, students, will be armed. The sky’s the limit in Arizona on “2nd amendment gun rights. “ NY mayor Bloomberg pulled a sting operation recently that revealed an Arizona gun show vendor was okay with the “buyer” telling him he didn’t think he could pass a background check. For his efforts the mayor was denounced by Governor Brewer and Pearce for meddling and going outside his authority.
Meanwhile Gabbie Giffords goes through a very long and very difficult rehabilitation in Houston. If only the state she represents could honor her–and perhaps help her–with a gun policy that might prevent another Jared Loughner from taking out his anger on innocent people .