Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wyoming Legislature may need therapy for gun obsession

The Wyoming State Legislature is obsessed with guns.

Guns in the classroom. Guns at public meetings. Silencers on hunting weapons. 

And legislators don't want the federal gubment to get in the way of Wyomingites owning semi-automatic weapons and high capacity ammo clips. How many rounds does it take to kill a deer or an antelope, anyway?

Yesterday, the so-called Wyoming Firearms Protection Act advanced out of committee. It has the has drawn national media attention by proposing to ban enforcement of all federal gun regulations within the state.

So, as the feds move closer to requiring universal background checks and forbidding the type of rapid-fire weapons that killed 20 six-year-olds in Connecticut, Wyoming moves closer to the margins of Gun Cuckooland. 

Federal law trumps state and local law except in the minds of Tea Party conspiracists and their fellow travelers in the legislature. Nullification! Freedom! Second amendment! Morons!

It's true enough to say Wyoming has a strong gun culture. My neighborhood may be better armed than most Midwestern cities. I've lived here for seven years and nobody's been shot that I know of. It's entirely possible that our low crime rate and incidences of B&E may be due to criminals never know who has a gun and who does not. When I walk neighborhoods for Democratic candidates, which in itself may be a cause for suspicion, I often see stickers on doors and windows. "Protected by Smith & Wesson" is a favorite. So is "C'mon, punk, make my day" that usually comes with an illustration of a bullseye or a big Dirty Harry handgun. I have never been confronted with a drawn gun, although I was reported as a suspicious character when I canvassed a south side neighborhood last fall. I must admit to looking slightly shady. I was wearing a ballcap and a blue T-shirt and carrying around a fistful of leaflets for a Dem running for the legislature. It was an October Saturday and I wasn't at home or at a bar watching college football, suspicious in itself. Cops rousted me, although they kept their sidearms holstered and didn't frisk me. BTW, I was old enough to be their grandfather and at least their father. But you never know -- I could be a frontman for a cadre of Colorado-based break-in artists. Can't be too careful.

Home protection and hunting and collecting and gunsmsithing I can understand. Right-wing whackadoodle paranoia I can understand too, but it scares me. Seems like our legislators are only too eager to sign on with the paranoid few.

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