Ed Morrissey comments on a proposal hasty gun control proposal coming on the heels of the Tucson shootings;
Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, is planning to introduce legislation that would make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official, according to a person familiar with the congressman’s intentions.
King is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. The proposed law follows the Saturday shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and a federal judge that left six dead, including the judge, and 14 wounded.
Morrissey notes some possible constitutional and effectiveness problems with such a proposal.
I will add a few practical problems.
How do you know when you are within 1,000 feet of a federal government official?
Our federal court is downtown. So are lots of lofts and condos, well within 1,000 feet of the federal courthouse. Would it be e federal crime to have a gun at home if you lived in one of these places? Would it be a federal crime to have a gun in your car when visiting downtown, or just driving through it?
Hell, I have a neighbor who is a federal judge, and I own a pistol. Would it be a crime for me to have that pistol in my home?
What if one is walking through a park (otherwise lawfully carrying a pistol) and, unbeknownst to you, a Senator is speaking in another part of the park? What if you drive past the park, or drive by a few blocks away, and have a pistol in your car?
What if one is sitting on bench (otherwise lawfully carrying a pistol) and a federal judge in street clothes walks up to you?
And, of course, what makes anyone think that banning law-abiding persons from carrying firearms anywhere will stop the not law-abiding from carrying or using a firearm for purposes of shooting someone?
Does anyone think Rep. King’s proposed law would have done anything to deter or prevent Loughner or another nutcase from breaking the law and shooting at federal officials? If so, how?
UPDATE: CLiff may at NRO Online appears to have details about the proposal that would minimize the problems with respect to accidential/incidental/residential violations above:
Peter King, the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning proposed federal legislation that would prevent people from knowingly bringing guns within 1,000 feet of an event at which members of Congress and federal judges are appearing.
The last problem, however, remains unaddressed. Honestly, does anyone think someone plotting murder would hesitate for a second to violate a carry law? And if only law-abiding citizens would be affected by the law, what good is it?
Andy McCarthy says it better:
Fourth, and finally, the people who would be a threat to our political representatives, like the people who might be a threat to me, are not law-abiding Americans. They are enemy operatives, criminals, or the mentally disturbed. As to the former, once you have crossed the Rubicon of plotting murder, you are not going to be backed up by a law that criminalizes carrying a weapon within a certain distance of your target. For the latter, the laws don’t matter.
That is, Rep. King’s proposal penalizes only the law-abiding, in a way that affects their fundamental rights, without having any effect on the people he is actually worried about — assassins and the deranged. I don’t think Americans should have to tolerate a situation in which their rights are circumscribed, through no fault of their own, by society’s lowest common denominator.