I really don't like the smell of gunpowder in the morning. Time to clear the queue!
- That Sioux Falls paper reports that 24 states allow someone other than police on school grounds with firearms. That means 24 states are making a mistake.
- Senate Majority Leader Russell Olson won't support a texting ban to make our highways safer or penalties for adults who host underage beer parties. But he will support putting more guns in schools. Ah, Russ, always living on the edge... and risking our kids' safety for his vague ideology.
- I have accused backers of House Bill 1087 of trying to turn our schools into the Wild West. That's a mischaracterization of the Wild West, according to this 2011 article by UCLA law professor Adam Winkler:
When Dodge City residents organized their municipal government, do you know what the very first law they passed was? A gun control law. They declared that "any person or persons found carrying concealed weapons in the city of Dodge or violating the laws of the State shall be dealt with according to law." Many frontier towns, including Tombstone, Arizona--the site of the infamous "Shootout at the OK Corral"--also barred the carrying of guns openly [Adam Winkler, "Did the Wild West Have More Gun Control Than We Do Today?" Huffington Post, 2011.09.09].
- Just like House Bill 1087, which seeks to create a larger market for the NRA's products, our gun fantasies about the Old West arose from the drive to make money. More from Winkler:
Why is our image of the Wild West so wrong? Largely for the same reason these towns adopted gun control laws in the first place: economic development. Residents wanted limits on guns in public because they wanted to attract businesspeople and civilized folk. What prospective storeowner was going to move to Deadwood if he was likely to be robbed when he brought his daily earnings to the bank?
Once the frontier was closed, those same towns glorified a supposedly violent past in order to attract tourists and the businesses to serve them. Gunfights were extremely rare in frontier towns, but these days you can see a reenactment of the one at the OK Corral several times a day. Don't forget to buy a souvenir! [Winkler, 2011]
- Ben Domenech traces our urge to arm back to what DeTocqueville saw as our uniquely American belief in self-government.
- On the good side (and I am trying to find some shred of good coming from this session), our Legislators have managed to shoot down a few bad gun ideas in the Capitol. The repeal of our concealed weapons permit requirements, forbidding private businesses from restricting firearms on their property, banning the public identification of any gun owner—all killed by a few cooler heads in Pierre.
Update 07:14 MST: Susan Aaron has a child who survived last month's school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. She spoke to a legislative task force at Newtown High School last night:
We stop being the world's greatest country when we allow our most vulnerable citizens to be slaughtered because we might offend people by taking away their guns. We stop being something to be proud of when we love our guns more than we love our children [Susan Aaron, quoted by Brian Burnell, "Powerful Words Spoken at Newtown, Conn. Hearing," NECN.com, 2013.01.30].