Another dilemma for congress

The gun rights people in the U.S. Congress have been giving their anti-gun bigot co-workers some interesting dilemmas recently. There was the elimination of D.C.’s gun laws amendment attached to the bill giving D.C. residents a voting member in the house (on hold). Then there was the removal of guns restrictions in National Parks attached to the “credit card reform” legislation (passed!). And now there is this (via email from Wesley D.):

The Pink Pistols and GOProud are supporting Senator John Thune (R-SD) on an amendment to recently-introduced Federal “so-called hate crime” legislation, Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Conceptually, the amendment would allow citizens with concealed carry permits to carry handguns across state lines with reciprocity, while following local concealed carry laws. That makes sense to me. If the original legislation is intended to reactively punish thuggish citizens for “so-called hate crimes,” it only makes sense to also proactively make it easier for all citizens to defend themselves and prevent the “so-called hate crimes” in the first place.

Although I agree with Linoge on a philosophical basis I also am of the opinion that once our enemies violated that principle (Hughes Amendment, Lautenberg Amendment, etc.) it would be unethical for us to defend our specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms on an unequal playing field. We are only playing by their rules. So when they start whining just tell them something like, “Karma is a bitch ain’t it?”

See also posts by Phil and Ride Fast.

9 thoughts on “Another dilemma for congress

  1. I guess “philosophical” is something…

    I will certainly and absolutely agree that not utilizing the tactic of “poison amendments” ourselves unlevels the playing field in the favor of our opponents, but I do not acknowledge that to be sufficient reason to employ the tactic ourselves. “Poison amendments” undermine the very nature and function of our governmental system, and reduce the system not to voting on bills based on their merits or detriments, but rather voting on bills based on whether or not you want their little riders-on to pass along with them.

    Taken to its extreme, this tactic could easily shut down the American government – which sounds positively wonderful on the surface, until you realize that it could also be employed against bills rolling back previous bills. Some Republican fields a bill to institute a federal, nation-wide, permit-free concealed carry program. Some Democrat slaps on an amendment to launch federal, nation-wide healthcare. Bill goes belly-up.

    Karma is a bitch, but likewise, we should be careful how we fight our monsters.

  2. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you on this important issue. James and I drove 300 miles back to Idaho last night and have been pretty busy all day with preparing for Xenia’s wedding tomorrow.

    My approach would be to let it be known that they can play by the rules or they can play without rules. We’ve been screwed over so many times (ask me about the Hughes Amendment in ’86 or the AWB in ’94 sometime) that they need to realize they won’t be allowed to get away with that type of behavior anymore. If they wanted to undo all the crap they pushed through that way and start over then fine–even if they only would do that for the last ten years I would consider it a good faith effort and be willing to declare a truce of some sort. But the instant they stepped over the line again I’d (figuratively) put their heads on poles lining Pennsylvania Avenue. Monstrous? Yup. But it was their choice. Just like a thug that was just going to “rough ’em up a little” and take their money. He didn’t deserve the death penalty but if one of his victims empties a .45 into his chest rather than take the beating I will have zero sympathy for him. It was his choice.

  3. Joe, considering the events transpiring at/near your house today, you really have better things to be doing than addressing my miniscule qualms :).

    That said, and I hate to use this phrase, considering how misused and overwrought it has become, but if we start abiding by the “playing by no rules” rule ourselves, we become no better than they are.

    If we are going to keep letting the other side dictate the rules and arrangements by which we will abide, we will always be on the wrong side of the curve. But if we hold true to what we know is the right way of doing things, we serve as an example, and something of a rallying point. Our government was created the way it was for a reason, and while it may not be perfect (and certainly is not in a lot of ways), randomly and arbitrarily undermining various constructs and arrangements simply for the sake of expediency or equivalency is not the way to fix things. Sure, it is easier to be a living hyena than a dead lion, but it is easier still to be a living lion.

  4. since the next must pass bill is likely to be the “health care tax increase and soak the poor slobs blind” bill… maybe we should sneak in a repeal of the NFA and GCA 1968???

  5. Linoge, I was going to say something snarky about serving as an example and being a rallying point is for martyrs and as our right to keep and bear arms is a last ditch defense against tyranny I’m not inclined to risk sacrificing it. But perhaps you could suggest some concrete examples of how to fix the problem rather than talking in the abstract. I have frequent have difficulty with abstract conversations and end up with miscommunication.

  6. If nothing else, the current situation is an ideal example – start lobbying our respective representatives/senators to keep lobbing pro-firearms bills into the air, and see what happens. When the seeming-inevitable starts happen, and more poison amendments are attached to them, call out the activity as it is. “Look at those underhanded politicians – they cannot even afford to have the bill voted on for its own merits, they want to go and snipe it out of existence,” or something similar to that. If you present it as what it actually is, an undermining of the way our government was supposed to work, and an undermining of the process that has worked fairly well for the past few years, then people’s opinions of the tactic will start shifting.

    Hell, we have been victims of the public opinion engine for decades ourselves – if you want to use the other side’s tactics, this would be a perfect place to start.

    Unfortunately, we have already yielded that high ground, but it may be possible to recover it in the future.

  7. I don’t think merely calling attention to the problem is enough. There needs to be some codification of the rules and those rules need to have some real teeth. Talk is cheap. As soon as they can get away with it again they will do it again–unless they fear punishment.

    I’m just not sure how to make the rules in such a way that they won’t be easily changed when the bad guys get in power again. And even if that problem is solved you still have to define where the limits are. Do amendments for “midnight basketball” and “assault weapon ban” qualify for attachment to a bill for “putting more cops on the street” which has the title of “Crime Reduction Act”? Never mind that the Constitution doesn’t give the Feds the power to do any of those things. I just used those as examples.

    Tough problems.

  8. Tough problems.

    Now that I can agree with, and while neither of our solutions may be the ideal one, those problems do lead to (hopefully) interesting conversations.

    As for how to change the rules, my off-the-cuff quippy answer is to simply bar amendments. One act at a time, individually, on their own merits, with one vote for each act. It would certainly slow things to a crawl, but that might be good too…

  9. How does that really help? If they pull a bill and resubmit it with equivalent of an amendment isn’t that essentially the same thing?

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