Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pistol Whipped Revisited

So the Journal Times got in to the whole "Aldermen packing heat" debate a week after it was settled - a better than average response time for them - and they made it this morning's headline.

The JT asked Aldermen who supported the amendment whether or not they'd be carrying a gun in future council activities - they demurred to answer. (Note to JT: That's why it's a "concealed" weapon. You're not supposed to know whether a person has a handgun or not. Derp.)

But in a positively awesome answer, brand new Alderman, Eddie Diehl, stated:
“I am a member of the public who also happens to be an alderman. If there is a sign on the door that says duly permitted members of the public cannot bring weapons into City Hall, I will not either.”
Oh, the teabillies swooned. (When we first read his quote, we thought he said: If there is a sign on the door...I will not enter. The Siren pictured Diehl attending Common Council via Face Time from a bunker full of guns. Awesome.)

According to people who are against the amendment, the argument hinges on whether Alderman have carved out special rights for themselves. Critics claim there should be either a complete ban as it is now or complete freedom. Critics of the amendment say it is that simple.

Well, they are wrong - big surprise.

Under the Mayor's executive order, there already was separate consideration for law enforcement. There never was a complete ban and through the amendment process, elected officials have added themselves to that list.

The real argument is whether or not elected officials have some special rights not shared by the public in public buildings. Are elected officials the public? In this case - we say no.

Once upon a time, Racine Aldermen could be deputized and carry guns and do all kinds of things the public couldn't do. Some wise people in law enforcement recognized these Aldermen weren't actually trained and moved to limit those provisions - which was probably a very good idea. We bring this up because there is a history in Racine and beyond that demonstrates that elected officials are not just "the public" in the same way police and firemen are not just "the public."

And while we hope that no one brings a single firearm to City Hall, recent tragedies involving public officials give one reason to believe a case can be made for safety.

Of course, none of this is going to stop a nut with a gun - not an Alderman who has to fumble around to get a handgun strapped under his or her cardigan who then must struggle to get the safety off, aim and fire under a siege of bullets like in Newtown or Aurora. That goes for someone sitting in the audience who is much more likely to shoot an innocent bystander if they even can get to their gun - which research has shown they will not.

However, if this measure pisses off people who think in a civilized society anyone with a $50 conceal and carry license and a half-hour of training should be able to carry a lethal firearm everywhere law enforcement can carry - then the Siren is all for it.

It does make one wonder if this insistence on equal rights to carry a gun by the 2A crowd is really about safety in City Hall or is it really about just getting to carry around a gun because you think that's what the constitution says?