New York Times
The country needs laws that allow gun ownership, but laws that also control their sale and use in careful ways. Instead, we have been seeing a rash of “stand your ground” self-defense laws, other laws that recklessly encourage the carrying of concealed weapons and efforts to force every state to knuckle under to those laws.
What we do not need is more heedless rhetoric like we heard on Friday from Representative Louie Gohmert, the Texas Republican who drew a bizarre connection during a radio interview between the horror in Colorado and “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.”
Mr. Gohmert added: “It does make me wonder, you know, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying? That could have stopped this guy more quickly?”
That sort of call to vigilante justice is sadly too familiar, and it may be the single most dangerous idea in the debate over gun ownership.
This would be an excellent time for our political parties to join together in calling for restrictions on the sale and possession of deadly weapons. That is unlikely, because the issue has become so closely linked to paranoid fantasies about a federal takeover of personal liberties that many politicians feel they cannot afford to advocate gun control.The Times's and Ebert's implied reasoning can be summarized as follows: "The Second Amendment notwithstanding, it's ridiculous to think that the federal government will ever take away our personal liberties. But tell you what: if we ever feel like the government starts heading in that direction, we'll simply have our elected representatives repeal the gun ban!" That appalling thought process is naive at best and disingenuous at worst.
Liberals tend to put an inordinate amount of faith in government, but this is truly Big-Brother-is-looking-out-for-you thinking. A famous sentiment of Ronald Reagan is: The scariest words in the English language are, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Liberals don't get the joke.