A legal instrument tailor-made to break the law
You knew when the “good guy with a gun” solution failed miserably during the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that the gun nuts would come up with a new shibboleth, and they have. “We are not talking about restricting the rights of current, law-abiding gun owners or citizens,” Texas Senator John Cornyn announced about the compromise gun-bill currently under consideration in the Senate. “Again, this is about the art of the possible.”
There he is, the brand new substitute for the “good guy with a gun”: the law-abiding gun owner. That’s going to be the Republican buzz-word on guns going into the midterms and beyond. We’re just protecting the rights of the law-abiding gun owner, that’s all we’re doing.
Included are the rights of 18-to-21 year olds to buy AR-15’s, and their rights to pick up a couple dozen large capacity magazines and a thousand rounds of ammunition while they’re at it. Republicans aren’t going to let law-abiding gun owners be denied those rights, nosireebob! Nor are they going to write into law a ban on bump-stocks, the nifty little invention that turns a semi-automatic AR-15 style assault rifle into a fully-automatic weapon. Nor will they agree to ban another full-auto accessory to AR-style rifles called the Hell-Fire, which operates similarly to the bump-stock by using the recoil of the rifle to automatically pull the trigger rapidly for the shooter, or should I say, the “law-abiding gun-owner.” The killer in Uvalde had purchased a Hell-Fire automatic trigger device, and it was recovered from the scene of the shooting, but federal authorities do not believe at this point that the device was used.
The Uvalde murderer could have used the Hell-Fire device, however, because until he shot the first elementary school student, he was part of the Republican dream: he was a law-abiding gun owner who had visited a gun store and bought an AR-style semiautomatic rifle and some 1,600-plus rounds of ammunition, and he put them in his truck and went home.
See, that’s the thing about law-abiding gun owners. They are law-abiding right up until the moment they are not, because the thing that they went into the gun store to purchase was the ideal instrument for committing crime. Just think of the crimes you could commit with your legally-purchased gun! A bank job! Armed robbery of a Quik-Mart at a gas station! The murder of your mother, like the shooter did in Newtown, Connecticut, or the murder of your grandmother, as the shooter in Uvalde attempted before he decided it would be a good idea to hie himself over to the Robb Elementary School and kill some children. Or how about the murder of your ex-wife, or ex-husband? Or killing an unfaithful girlfriend or boyfriend? Legally-purchased firearms are good for those crimes, too! And don’t forget those bosses who refused to give you a raise, or somebody who looks different from you! Guns are good for killing them, too!
In fact, that’s one of the most interesting things about firearms: they are legal for sale and possession, and in more than 30 states, legal to be carried anywhere you want to go, but they are the only instruments legally for sale that can be used to kill and rob and maim, other than perhaps automobiles. An automobile isn’t designed for the purpose of killing, however, but a gun is.
So the Republicans have apparently come up with a way to deal with the dilemma they face every time a law-abiding citizen decides to take his legally-purchased firearm and shoot up a shopping mall or a nightclub or a school. The Republican Party is going to be steadfast in its opposition to legally-purchased guns being used for illegal purposes, but they are going to stand up for the rights of law-abiding citizens, including young men between the ages of 18 and 21, to be law-abiding gun owners right up until the instant – the very second – they are not.
This is why the Texas association of sheriffs and police chiefs and other law enforcement organizations around the state came out against the “constitutional carry” law which allows anyone owning a gun to take it with them anywhere they want to go. What is a cop supposed to do if they stop a car for speeding or for failure to yield or for expired license plates and they walk up to talk to the driver and he or she is sitting there with a loaded gun next to them on the seat, or even on their lap? The owner of the car is a law-abiding gun-owner exercising his or her right to own and carry a firearm right up until the moment that driver decides to shoot the cop or decides to shoot up the street around the car. Both things have happened in states where open-carry laws have passed. Cops can’t keep citizens from owning and carrying guns, and they can’t take the guns away from citizens because until they are under arrest for a crime, they are law-abiding gun-owners!
“What I’m interested in is keeping guns out of the hands of those who, by current law, are not supposed to have them,” said Texas Senator Cornyn recently. “People with mental health problems, people who have criminal records.”
Cornyn and the Republican Party want to keep all those people who are not law-abiding citizens, and all of those people with mental health issues, from having guns. But they don’t want to close gun-show loopholes, or any other loopholes like the one that was opened wide in the first bill Donald Trump signed into law after becoming president back in 2017. Remember that jewel? Republicans, who then had control of the House and the Senate and the White House, quickly pushed through a repeal of a provision that denied people with records of mental illness from buying guns. They don’t want to reverse that move they happily made in 2017. No, that would possibly deny gun ownership to some of their vaunted law-abiding citizens.
What they want to do is provide more money for mental health in America. But even if people take advantage of Republicans’ sudden largesse on mental health care, they still want them to have the right to buy their guns, because they have the right to become law-abiding gun-owners right up until the moment their mental health issues turn them into non-law-abiding gun owners.
Or something anyway.
So throw out the hopes you had for all those good guys with guns. Now we’re going to have law-abiding gun-owners who are going to protect our school children and Walmart shoppers and nightclub patrons. Don’t you worry about a thing.
I’m going to stay on the gun story as long as it takes. You can help out by buying a subscription.