by Max Brantley
Today: 21 Republican lawmakers filed a bill to allow the open carrying of handguns in public places unless otherwise prohibited. Handgun means no barrel longer than 12 inches and capable of being carried in one hand.
The State Police would issue licenses for open carry that would also cover concealed carry. Current concealed carry permits would automatically be converted to open carry permits.
These wusses would still prohibit weapons at meetings of the General Assembly. And, dang, haven't they heard about the 1st Amendment? Churches continue to be on the list of exceptions to the new open carry rule. Also, the wusses continue to prohibit weapons in taverns. What? They think alcohol could cloyd someone's judgment? Excuse, me. "Cloud."
UPDATE: House Speaker Davy Carter told the AP he opposed the open carry bill, but couldn't otherwise gauge House sentiment. Simple arithmetic says Carter opposition means the bill fails unless a Democrat joins the other 50 Republicans. Given the cowardice displayed by Democrats in this session so far, you never know. It would be nice to see there was more than one independent thinker in the GOP delegation but, again, votes so far haven't unearthed any.
This open carry bill had been promised, but no reason gun worship should stop here.
The morning paper noted that a Missouri legislator has proposed making it a crime to propose gun control legislation. Presumably, he thinks the 2nd Amendment trumps the 1st.
Then there's this from Illinois, where the NRA says it is "non-negotable" — bus and train riders must be allowed to carry weapons.
Back in Arkansas, Rep. Andrea Lea is hard at work to slash the concealed carry permit fee . And Bazooka Bob Ballinger lurks with his bill to interpose the state of Arkansas against future federal gun laws. The castle doctrine is to be extended to fetus protection. Gun records are to be kept secret. Churchgoers are now on notice that sanctuaries may be armed. College governing boards soon will vote on permitting armed staff members.
Here's one the nuts haven't thought of: If we're going to keep the list of carry permits secret (the open carry law is going to need some fine-tuning to make this crystal clear for open carry permits, too), don't you think there should be a law preventing people who sell guns and give concealed carry classes from providing the names and addresses of customers to others? Isn't it a violation of privacy to sell that information to, say, a merchant that would like to compile a mailing list of likely gun buyers?
The final solution: Required gun ownership by all citizens. Think of it as insurance.
OR, MORE SERIOUSLY: You could contribute to the Obama organization's website compiling stories of gun violence.