With the President's announcement today that he will take sensible executive action to strengthen background checks for purchasing guns, among other common sense measures, I can hardly wait to turn my dial to hear El Rushbo and friends' reactions. He's overstepping his bounds by bypassing Congress, he's taking away guns, public places are more dangerous if they're gun-free zones. We've heard it all before, folks. And there isn't a lick of truth to any of it.
Speaking of gun-free zones, I don't usually give advice to the GOP -- it's not exactly my business -- but this idea seemed so obvious for conservatives, I figured they just forgot to mention it: Why not let folks bring their guns to the Republican National Convention?
If you listen to the rhetoric of many conservative wackadoodles, guns should be welcome at Quicken Loans Arena. (The only flashes the event staff should worry about should be from photography, not firearms.)
The convention floor seems like logical next place to expand gun rights, a sort of manifest destiny for the Second Amendment. Republicans have already voted for your right to carry in all sorts of public places: churches in Georgia... state parks in Maine, Louisiana, and Virginia... stadiums, hospitals, and day care centers in Michigan... Mississippi high schools, courthouses, polling places, colleges, churches, and the passenger terminal of Jackson-Evers International Airport.
Thanks to Republican legislators, you'll soon be able to pack heat on the quad of Texas A&M or at the college bar in town. Which brings a whole new meaning to “taking a shot.”
But for some reason, the march of progress hasn't made it yet to political rallies. The 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa - which adopted a platform “uphold[ing] the right... to keep and bear arms” - was curiously a “gun-free zone.” Firearms were also disallowed at a campaign event last year in Nevada featuring Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. And when the Republican hopefuls debate on January 28 at Iowa Events Center, they'll be doing so in an arena that usually prohibits “weapons of any kind,” presumably because the event coordinators think it'll keep people safer. In yet another head-scratcher, the RNC has chosen Quicken Loans Arena, where a stadium policy “strictly” forbids firearms, for their next national convention.
This has to be an oversight.
See, the conservative argument against gun-free zones - and for the right to carry anywhere - is that it deters gun violence. And if it doesn't deter gun violence, then at least it gives anybody the chance to put two in the chest of a wannabee murderer. As Ted Cruz put it, “You stop bad guys by using our guns.”
Cruz isn't alone here; conservatives haven't been shy about this. After the attacks in Paris, Donald Trump said that had the victims been carrying, it would have been a “much, much different situation.” Then Ben Carson shared this interesting bit of history: Jews might have prevented the Holocaust if they'd been packing heat in the ghettos.
In other words: Guns don't kill people. Guns just kill people who don't have guns.
This is why it's crazy that the Republican National Convention hasn't declared itself a “gun-friendly zone” yet. Republicans know they need to protect themselves. RNC boss Reince Priebus should've put out a press release by now, a thumbs up next to a trigger finger, demanding that Quicken Loans Arena reverse its policy. And Ohio Governor Kasich and his Republican legislature should've already suspended the pesky law from July 18th to the 21st that allows the arena to set its policy so the Second Amendment can be in the speeches - and in the waistbands - of everyone at the convention.
After all, these big political conventions always attract their fair share of threats. And sure, the Secret Service is there with snipers to protect the nominee. But shouldn't the Republicans on the floor - the guys from the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and the fellows of the Heritage Foundation - be able to lock and load if ISIS breaks through the security barrier?
Or what about outside of the arena? Republicans won't be exiting by way of the covered veranda at Augusta National. (There's always the 2020 convention, guys.) This is Cleveland, and Republicans know that Cleveland so urrrrban. It's full of... How do I put this gently? What's the euphemism they'd use? ... Cleveland is full of Democrats. (That sound you're hearing is a Republican dog whistle). And when you're feeling threatened in a city you don't know, you need protection.
Look, I don't really expect anything bad to happen in Cleveland this summer. Maybe the combination of $15-dollar stadium cocktails and Limbaugh-style rage will lead the delegation from the Columbia, SC statehouse to harangue some RINO. But beyond that, I hope the convention is as boring and unwatchable as all the others.
Nevertheless, as Senate candidate Sharron Angle reminded us, Republicans should be ready with “Second Amendment remedies” should a threat ever pop up.
And if the threat never comes? Well... at least the convention-goers can take some target practice when the balloons drop. There's nothing more fun than some .22-caliber fireworks.
Someone should just warn the nominee about the ricochet.