Read the Gail Collins article on guns this morning… I think I’m changing my mind about gun control. I was particularly interested in this passage:
Well, in Florida, a state representative has introduced a bill that would impose fines of up to $5 million on any doctor who asks a patient whether he or she owns a gun. This is certainly a new and interesting concept, but I don’t think we can classify it as a response to Tucson. Jason Brodeur, the Republican who thought it up, says it’s a response to the health care reform act.
The last time I did an election-campaign story, when I went to Kentucky to cover Rand Paul and the Tea Party, I was a little surprised by how many of the Tea Partiers I interviewed had fantasies about the “left” and the government taking their guns away. They talk about it almost like it’s a given, part of some kind of secret plan we all have sealed in envelopes in those orders binders we all have stashed in our attics. And more than once I came across people who genuinely believed that once the guns were taken away, Soviet Communism would instantly be imposed – as if the gun lockers of these soccer moms and beered-up rural selectmen were the only thing currently preventing leftist revolution.
I was never that hot for gun control – much as I hate guns, I always thought making them illegal legitimized things like national drug laws and sodomy bans – but now I’m beginning to think that pushing for gun control is a good idea, if only because there’s nothing else that will nauseate and terrify Tea Partiers more. To me, the right-wing fascination with guns is such an obviously Freudian phenomenon that it’s almost embarrassing; real and very justified fears of creeping political impotence, idiotically and self-defeatingly expressed in passionate defense of their right to shoot themselves in tragic domestic accidents. Going after Republicans’ gun rights has always seemed to me needlessly provocative and cruel, sort of like removing the tinfoil helmet your local schizophrenic thinks is protecting him from space rays.
But now the paranoia has now gone so far, it’s just too tempting not to tweak. There’s got to be some way to pursue a new gun-control law that would maximally freak out this growing population of people who literally sleep with their guns at night.
How about a new law requiring all registered handgun owners to wear white Kevlar Clockwork Orange-style jockstraps? Or how about a new campaign – and this one I actually like – in which all of us who do not have guns voluntarily send in letters to the ATF, cheerfully informing them of our unarmed status (“Dear Government Agent: In case you were keeping a database of such information…”).
Seriously, if laws are really being pursued now stripping bans on guns at college campuses, there has to be some kind of backlash – this has really gotten out of hand.