Patterico's Pontifications


Pete King’s Proposed Gun Ban to Prevent Additional Safeway Massacres (and to Address the Danger of Trucks Falling on Rafts)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:39 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

One of the irritating things that occurs in politics is that every time something bad happens, someone thinks it is time to change the law.  For instance, in the wake of the Enron scandals we saw people in congress proposing new regulations on business supposedly to prevent that sort of thing from happening in the future.  I remember saying to colleagues at the time, “Why?  Isn’t what they did already illegal?”  But we have thousands and thousands of pages of laws and guidelines concerning the punishment or liability faced when the law is broken, something that fundamentally assumes that whatever the penalty is, there will still be people who break the law.  I called it There-aughtta-be-a-law syndrome, which was appropriately sent up in this classic Onion bit:

So Representative Pete King is proposing a law to prohibit carrying a gun within 1,000 feet of various high officials, including Congresspersons.  You know, I generally like and admire King, but what an idiotic proposal.  He compared it to the Gun-Free School Act, which is dubious constitutionally (given that the last version of this law was struck down).

So first, this imposes a duty to know where your congressperson is at all times.  Now of course the Gun-Free Schools Act does the same with schools, but schools are at a fixed location.  They don’t move around very much and when they do, you generally know it.  By comparison, very often politicians don’t want you to know exactly where they are.

And there is even a legitimate reason to keep the movements of a Congressperson a secret: security.  Of course a Congressperson does very often appear at a scheduled event, but if he or she is going to the supermarket just to shop, we shouldn’t know about it ahead of time.  But the law requires us to know about it.  So will this law require politicians to go door-to-door disclosing their location?  Are we proposing to treat politicians just like sex offenders?

Come to think of it…

Okay, so maybe they will insert some language about intent.  But that doesn’t erase the danger that a person will be convicted of such unlawful carry by inadvertently being in a Congressperson’s presence with a gun.

For instance, imagine you are in a grocery store, carrying a concealed weapon, when you learn that your Congressperson is outside.  You take a peek and see that gun-free zone now literally covers every exit.  So…  you are trapped in the store until your Congressperson leaves?  After all if you went out, you would be intentionally entering the gun-free zone, right?  And God help you if he or she comes inside.

Or suppose you are in a town house and you are concerned about burglaries, so you buy a gun.  Then one day someone moves into the unit next to you: a Congressman!  So do you have to give up your gun, now?  Or maybe just move?  And don’t say that most congresspersons don’t live in neighborhoods this bad.  Many Congressmen in fact live in D.C.  Indeed, this decision would seem to in effect reinstate the ban on gun ownership in D.C. struck down by the Supreme Court, since Congresspersons can be found driving all over the district, making it almost impossible for you to possess a gun in D.C. for more than 24 hours without breaking this proposed rule.  Well, except in South East, because everyone knows better than to go into that sh*thole, Congresspersons included.

But the worst thing about it is this.  Not only would this not have protected Congresswoman Giffords, but it would positively harm our ability to protect ourselves, and even members of Congress, from killers.  First, it wouldn’t have saved her.  Seriously, does anyone think that Loughner would have stopped if he knew there was a law against carrying that gun near Giffords?  The fact it was illegal to shoot her didn’t seem to slow him down.  So the only result of this rule is that people who scrupulously obey the law would now disarm.  But aren’t those exactly the kinds of people you want to have guns?

The good news in all of this is that Boehner is opposed to this, so we can hope this idiocy won’t even be proposed, let alone pass.  But Rep. King, why not instead just withdraw it? If you did that, some of my respect for you would be restored.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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48 Responses to “Pete King’s Proposed Gun Ban to Prevent Additional Safeway Massacres (and to Address the Danger of Trucks Falling on Rafts)”

  1. Let me put it this way… and I know everyone already has this in mind:

    Jared Loughner still would have shot those people if there was a ban on guns around the ruling class. He didn’t care about the laws. What he did was illegal already.

    Aaron notes that with his Enron example, which is one that’s bugged me for a while because a lot of those regulations have a harmful impact on good people.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  2. Dustin

    ah, please tell me you enjoyed my skewering of the idea on its merits! i was really trying to be funny.

    btw, when you go rafting, watch out for falling trucks. lol

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  3. It’s a dumb proposal as a practical matter, as you point out – how do you know where the no-gun zone is?

    I also think there’s a strong void-for-vagueness case based on the fact that no reasonable person could have a clue where he could or couldn’t carry a gun under such a rule.

    aphrael (9802d6)

  4. I’m glad Boehner has stood up against this.

    As I read somewhere, we just have to keep them from passing any laws about this for a few months, until it’s no longer the nation’s top story.

    King is a disgrace for this Bloomberg camp move.

    If they want to ban guns in Congressional events, they already can. You can just post a sign prohibiting guns. We don’t need new laws for that.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. aph

    well, i don’t think that is a vagueness objection. but it is a notice objection. this law would not survive constitutional muster.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  6. Congresspeople are special and they should be specially protected cause of they have to pass the laws for to help America spend the monies responsibly and you can’t do that with a bullet in your head you know.

    It’s time for all of us to open our eyes.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  7. I thought Peter King was the conservative’s ideal.

    JEA (50ec23)

  8. Yesterday, a Canadian was asking me what makes our 2-party system a good thing. I told him “gridlock.”

    carlitos (a3d259)

  9. I was delighted by that Onion vid. What is their budget? How do they make any money?

    I loved the ‘We also have to be worried about trucks with one tank of nitro, and one tank of glycerin’, and the subtle Groundhog Day truck reference at the very end.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  10. If the KongressKritters are so concerned about their security, I propose relocating the House and Senate to SuperMax in CO, where they would remain until they die in office, or are replaced at the ballot box.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  11. King has often been the voice of reason,but now i have reason to fear with this bizarre proposal. He sits on an importent commitee on homeland security. He sounds like he has been in washington too long by suggesting putting restrictions on normal law abiding people because of the relatively rare criminal action of a deranged person and the failure of police and the college officials to take appropriate action apriori.

    dunce (b89258)

  12. “One of the irritating things that occurs in politics is that every time something bad happens, someone thinks it is time to change the law.”

    Of course! From “Yes, Minister”:

    “Politician’s logic:
    We must do something.
    This is something.
    Therefore we must do it.”

    Thus, any situation provides you with a compelling reason for doing whatever you want. Genius!

    gj (cf3974)

  13. There oughta be a law stopping those damn trucks!!

    Take em all off of the road until they can prove the’re safe!!

    Thank you Aaron for highlighting this horrible safety hazard, you are a true patriot my friend!!

    I hope that next we can stop trucks from carrying firearms in public. It’s all that damn Palin and Bush’s fault. Thank god for the great Xerxes

    SacTownMan (0a0272)

  14. I agree there should be a ban. We should outlaw Congress. If there aren’t any Congressmen or Congresswomen, then no one will want to shoot them.

    And, that’s only one of thousands of the benefits we would enjoy if we simply outlawed Congress.

    For example, we would save at least $174,000 a year per Congressmoron, if we didn’t have to pay them a salary to propose idiotic laws.

    Dave Surls (c01b0e)

  15. Isn’t the Gun-Free Schools Act one of the classic over-extensions of the Commerce Clause as a justification for a legislative encroachment. And a lot of those extensions are laughably dubious to begin with… so, great foundation for your argument, Pete.

    What he really should propose is a military contract for the development of a force-field generating device that you wear on your belt, which dramatically hurls any gun-carrying citizen within a thousand feet into the nearest dumpster and shuts the lid. These devices may then be provided to every Congressman, along with their private jet. The technology can then be tweaked to propel any dissenting citizen, or any citizen at all, which is what these people really want anyway. Stupid plebes.

    Leviticus (d72ad6)

  16. Hey, if the Commerce Clause can govern growing and smoking pot in your own house in California without crossing state lines, why not trucks, rafts and guns?

    When they outlaw rafts, only outlaws will have rafts.

    carlitos (a3d259)

  17. Like I said, Pete King can just ban guns at his public events, and not broadcast where he is when he’s not at such an event. It’s really simple. No new laws needed.

    It also won’t help him at all, since his gun banning sign will be ignored by anyone crazy enough to shoot a politician. Giffords is a 2nd Amendment advocate, and one of the things she has made noise on is overturning gun control measures, so it’s unlikely she’d have ever done this, but had she banned guns at her Safeway event, it wouldn’t have changed anything. Perhaps people would blame that for there being no armed citizens present to defend themselves, but it turns out even that was unchanged.

    I’d rather have gun carrying citizens in the crowd, so if a crazy person showed up, we’d have a fighting chance. Perhaps congressmen can encourage that, but it probably would just make them sound silly.

    Pete King was just trying to help Bloomberg use this tragedy to score political points.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  18. “Hey, if the Commerce Clause can govern growing and smoking pot in your own house in California without crossing state lines, why not trucks, rafts and guns?”

    – carlitos

    But…but… linked economies! Affects prices ‘n (*sputter*) I’m a Republican too and, uh, not any happier about this than you are… incentivizes interstate migration, and (*cough*) the Constitution, uh, the 9th Amendment is unique in its lack of a penumbra, the Ghost of Elbridge Gerry told me so. /Alberto Gonzalez

    Leviticus (d72ad6)

  19. I’ve usually admired King for his common sense and ability to stand up to those trying to shut him up, but this time he should have…shut up.

    Dmac (498ece)

  20. “Representative Pete King is proposing a law to prohibit carrying a gun within 1,000 feet of various high officials, including Congresspersons.”

    Notice how these turds in Washington aren’t proposing a law that makes it an offense to carry a gun within 1,000 feet of a nine year old girl?

    You know why that is?

    It’s because just about ALL politicians are self-serving scumbags. Damn near every single fucking last one of them.

    A little kid just got blown away, and what are these degenerate animals in Washingon worried about? Their precious hides…and only their precious hides.

    Tell you what Peter King, I wouldn’t trade you, Obama, Giffords and all the politicians that ever crawled out from under a rock in the history of the world for one little nine year old girl, and you can take your proposed legislation that seeks to safeguard only the lives of politicians and ram it right up your worthless GOP ass.

    I’ve been in a foul, festering mood ever since I heard about that little girl getting shot, and watching pricks like King respond to the death of a little girl by proposing new laws to protect politician pricks, instead of proposing laws to protect little girls is about to send me right over the freaking edge.

    Dave Surls (c01b0e)

  21. Every crime does not scream out for a legislative solution. Inevitably, their solutions fail.

    JD (9c6ca7)

  22. We need another gun control law. Because the 5000 gun control laws currently on the books didn’t stop that Tea Partier from killing all those people in Arizona.

    Marie (c4d6f2)

  23. The honorable Mr. King should propose a law that prohibits anyone from thinking about shooting a member of Congress. It would be just as effective as what he is now suggesting.

    navyvet (db5856)

  24. Of course a bullet can go farther than 1000 feet, so it’s stupid anyway.

    kimsch (0c8d1a)

  25. the 5000 gun control laws currently on the books

    That doesn’t even cover a quarter of them.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  26. If you can hit ANY target at 1000′ with a pistol, you are a better man than I.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  27. Three suggestions:

    1. Paint all government officials international orange so we know where they are.

    2. Make all government officials publish their schedules 30 days in advance.

    3. To protect our second amendment rights, establish government-official-free-zones where officials are prohibited from traveling, ever.

    Arch (24f4f2)

  28. Scott’s right, kimsch. 300 yards is an impressive shot for a nice rifle (though I could do it about 50% of the time before I needed glasses). It is a comic book level skill with a pistol.

    Regardless, folks like you who note the stupidity of this protection have a point.

    I mean, let’s really seriously look at the scenario you are painting. A sniper is going to shoot someone, and they take the shot from exactly 1000 feet away. Why? Cause the law says they can’t bring a gun any closer.

    It’s like something out of a Monty Python sketch.

    This law would only ensure that any shooter who invaded an event would be surrounded by unarmed people.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  29. “One of the irritating things that occurs in politics is that every time something bad happens, someone thinks it is time to change the law.”

    I don’t mind changing the law to suit current conditions. If you want to pass a law that says you are never allowed to shoot little girls no matter what, and you can only shoot politicians, if you have a legitimate reason…I’d go for that.

    Dave Surls (c01b0e)

  30. 3. To protect our second amendment rights, establish government-official-free-zones where officials are prohibited from traveling, ever.

    Comment by Arch

    That makes more sense. It never would have occurred to the ruling class, but it makes perfect sense. Let them remain in their ruling class compound if they want to ban guns. It is the height of arrogance to think people living their daily lives should lose their rights when a ruler drives by.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  31. “3. To protect our second amendment rights, establish government-official-free-zones where officials are prohibited from traveling, ever.”

    Good idea. I’d like to propose a zone than runs from California east to Maine, and from Minnesota south to Florida.

    That kinda sucks for people in Alaska and Hawaii, but the rest of us would be in fat city.

    Dave Surls (c01b0e)

  32. Arch

    maybe the simpler way to deal with things is to put a radio collar on the necks of the politicians, you know like they do with animals.

    and apparently we need registry laws for this. let’s call it Monika’s law.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  33. You could make it a crime to “knowingly” carry a gun within 1000 feet of certain officials (the knowingly to modify the officials). That makes more sense.

    With respect to your scenarios about a Congresswoman moving next door, we already have those problem under existing laws. Some state and local laws, for instance, prohibit liquor stores or bars or stores carrying audit videos from being less than 1000 feet from churches or schools. I know of a situation where a bar had to close down because a church moved in after the bar was already there.

    Jim (87e69d)

  34. “1. Paint all government officials international orange so we know where they are.”

    They should also be required to wear big rubber noses and clownshoes, so everyone will know WHAT they are.

    Dave Surls (c01b0e)

  35. Why spend money on a collar?

    Tag their ears like the do other large, dumb animals.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  36. how about requiring all Congressmen to wear
    silver foil jumpsuits and flashing strobes
    on their heads, to enhance visibility?
    or outlawing microphones within 1,000
    feet of a Congressman?

    John Cunningham (7e6e43)

  37. Just bear in mind that a lot of congressmen have said ‘hell no’ to this dumb legislation. I’m pretty sure Giffords would have. She argued for gun control measures to be overturned on two occasions.

    Bloomberg and King using her suffering to grind this axe is less than wonderful.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  38. I wonder if the stalwart Mr. King has canceled any of his upcoming public appearances?

    JEA (e1c2a1)

  39. Hilarious! And too true.

    Thank you, Aaron.

    T D (7d9cc1)

  40. I propose that no law be passed relating to,or especially pretending to be related to, any tragic, emotional event until 1 year has passed!

    Brett (368801)

  41. If we put collars on them, might as well make them shock collars, so we can see them dance while they try to speak to us. That would be fun.

    PatAZ (537b43)

  42. “You know, I generally like and admire King”

    Well, to each his own, but I generally despise politicians who, after spending decades supporting IRA terrorists, then turn around and want anyone holding a gun who gets within 1000 feet of a precious little politician thrown in jail.

    As a matter of fact, I generally despise politicians who supported IRA terrorists, period.

    King is scum.

    Dave Surls (9ddb8d)

  43. Looks like we are seeing more calls from Democrats for govt censorship of radio/TV. Latest is a Congresswoman ironically named Slaughter, Democrat from NY, calling for more intervention from the already lawless FCC.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  44. I 100% support King’s Law prohibiting politicians from approaching within 1000ft of an armed citizen provided the penalty for a politician approaching without 1000 feet are 1) immediate expulsion from office; 2) a fine equal to the amount spent by his campaign at the last election, 3) a ban on all further government employment of said politician, and 4) a term of no less than one year imprisonment (country club prison, okay, as I have some mercy).

    tehag (c9c7bc)

  45. I propose that for this law to be effective, the protected elected officials must at all times wear aluminum/silver-ized jump suits with a flashing strobe upon their heads, so that law abiding citizens may have warning to move out of an area. A Coworker has suggested that the strobe should be mounted on top of a conical hat (i.e. dunce cap).

    Upon further thought, there should also be some sort of audible alarm that can be heard out to 1100 feet, like a backup alarm on a truck. That way, a law abiding citizen will be able to hear when a protected person is approaching, and move out of the protected zone.

    Loren (998d8f)

  46. ___________________________________________

    If laws banning firearms somehow magically meant that judges throughout the judiciary — at both the state and federal levels — no longer would be anything but philosophically conservative to, at worse, truly centrist, I’d give it some consideration. Of course, there’s also the possibility I’ll be winning the $10 million Lotto tomorrow.

    Mark (411533)

  47. Wait a minute; I thought there was a law against murder? Maybe we ought to start there.

    Arizona Bob (e8af2b)

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