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New Gun Measures Cater To The Paranoid

New Gun Measures Cater To The Paranoid

By Martha Rosenberg

It's a pretty unsafe world if you listen to the NRA.

You can conceal and carry weapons in 37 states--but can't bring them to work.

You can drive with them--but not hide them under the car seat.

And you can't even take them within 1000 feet of a playground or school yard!

No wonder the nation's oldest civil rights group--did you know that?--
says it's oppressed.

Now the NRA is back in the Florida legislature trying to legislate away employers' rights to ban guns on their property because its members are afraid to drive to work unarmed.

"When you get off work at 12 o'clock or 1 o'clock and you're driving home you have the right to protect yourself if you're accosted on the highway," says Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president.

Raise your hand if you somehow made it to work today without the help of a gun. Anybody?

Last year a "Bring Your Gun To Work" bill was defeated in Florida.

It had the opposition of the business community (see: workplace violence; causes) and the American Bar Association.

But this year the bill is back with a new provision making it illegal for employers to even search a car--and a new backer, the AFL-CIO labor union.

The NRA is also in the Georgia legislature "accusing every major company in Georgia of being anti gun, sending out their alerts every few hours naming more companies as anti gun," according to fed up former NRA supporter state Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle), "and acting like a hysterical teenaged girl."

(Senator: You just lost the teenage girl vote.)

The NRA is also afraid to have the press reveal the identities of people licensed to carry a concealed weapon like an Orlando TV station did last year.

"They made it sound like exercising a constitutional right was something wrong, and they held [gun owners] up to ridicule," said Marion Hammer, executive director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida. The group subsequently moved to hide concealed weapon data from the public domain so people could be armed and anonymous.

But it isn't just the ridicule.

Concealers could be targeted by criminals if their addresses are known says the gun lobby!

"I would hope that we don't have to wait for someone to actually be burglarized or raped for someone to say: 'Oh, maybe this is a bad idea,'" says NRA spokeswoman Ashley Varner.

But doesn't NRA 101 teach that a gun in the home deters crime? That criminals target the unarmed? That letting someone know your home lacks a weapon is an Invitation to Home Invasion?

Did I miss a lecture?

Even Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, says he feels unsafe after his aid, Phillip Thompson, was arrested for carrying a 9-millimeter handgun and two clips of ammunition into the Russell Senate Office Building where Webb's office is located.

(Thompson spent the night in jail; he's the one who should feel unsafe.)

The Senator lost no time in dodging questions like

*What was your aid doing with a loaded pistol with two fully loaded extra magazines wandering around the U.S. Capitol?

*Why does he say you gave the weapon to him and you say you didn't?

*How does a Senatorial entourage "lose track" of lethal weapons because of confusion in getting to the airport?

in favor of the "poor me; I'm afraid of crime" NRA refrain.

"Since 9/11 for people who are in government, I think, there has been an agreement that it has been a more dangerous time," said Senator Webb.

"You look at people in the executive branch, the number of people defending the president. There is not that kind of protection available for people in the legislative branch. We are required to defend ourselves. I choose to do so."

But Webb's desire to take his gun to work notwithstanding, how many politicians died on 9/11? And how would a handgun stop a jet going 500 mph into a building?

Is it possible the "more dangerous time" for politicians Webb is talking about is going without NRA support?


Martha Rosenberg
Staff Cartoonist
Evanston Roundtable, IL

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