Republican Peter King Offers Sensible Gun Control Legislation

Republican Peter King Offers Sensible Gun Control Legislation


It’s pretty simple. No guns within 1000 feet of a federal politician. This means that those folks who feel the need to exercise their 2nd amendment rights won’t be allowed into political rallies any more.


The National Review asks King some leading questions…

King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, acknowledges that his legislation, if it had been on the books, might not have prevented the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.) and others. “Maybe not in this case, but in others it could be prevention,” he argues.

“It would be helpful to the extent that if the police saw him with a bulge in his pocket or saw him touching his pocket or rubbing his jacket, it could raise their suspicion. Then they could go over, and if he had [a gun], they could make him leave,” King says. “But do I expect someone like [Jared Lee Loughner] to follow the law? Absolutely not.”

What about a situation where a gun is fully concealed and law-enforcement officials are unable to spot anything suspicious? “In that case, then this wouldn’t work, but there can be cases where it will. Would it work in five percent of cases? Ten percent? Twenty percent? Thirty percent? I don’t know, but I do believe it would certainly work in some instances. I don’t see the downside.”

Yes, National Review…people are sneaky and break laws. But some common sense measures can be put into place to possibly stop similar things from happening again. Laws are designed to act as a deterrent, not a cure all. If somebody wants to do something crazy, they will.

Still, they go on to cite the gun owner who could have…possibly…maybe taken Loughner out as an example of why you’d want armed citizens near public officials…

In Tucson, onlooker Joe Zamudio was armed when he witnessed the developing scene in the parking lot. Zamudio, within seconds, had his hand on his gun, ready to shoot, in case Loughner was not subdued. Does King think citizens have the right to be armed, and respond, during unexpected violent outbursts in public?

Note the framing of the question there. It turns from having a gun near a politician to a broader “do citizens have the right to be armed and respond to violent outbursts in public?” Of course they do, but can their be exceptions? Yes. Take the First Amendment. Yes, you have the right to be a complete ass if you want, but the moment you start to defame or libel somebody…guess what? That ain’t free speech. Also, you can’t incite violence or panic with your speech…or plan a crime…or any number of other things.

Also, there’s a reason we have cops. Sure, in the absence of security it may be better to have armed citizens there, but the problem there is you have no idea if they’re trained or not. And maybe it’s just me, but that’s a big reason why I hate conceal and carry laws. How do I know the guy who’s carrying a gun is a) responsible, b) mentally stable and c) a good aim?

One other thing detail that should be highlighted…that armed Arizonian wouldn’t have stopped Loughner either. Only more gun control that would have prevented Loughner from easily obtaining a firearm and bullets would have. Of course nobody wants to talk about that.

King responds appropriately…

“It’s more helpful if you had security in the area,” King replies. “If something did start, and police were firing, I would not want a civilian firing at the same time. When we balance the equities, I’m saying there is a greater good to be obtained by keeping weapons out of that thousand-foot zone.”

The greater good? What’s that?

  • Simon

    If we learned anything from the USA PATRIOT Act, it’s that knee jerk legislative responses to national tragedy are a sensible way to legislate, right?

    On first blush, the proposal is at once overrestrictive and underprotective. It is overrestrictive because a thousand feet is quite a significant distance, and the law will supply pretext for the arrest of anyone who happens to walk within a thousand feet of a protected person while minding his own business. (Depending on which version of the restriction one sees King hawking, it might not even be necessary that the gun be brought into the proximity of the member by the owner: the text mentioned in this interview would supply pretext if the member moved or was moved within a thousand feet of the owner, with no action on the latter’s part.) The bill lacks even an intent requirement to act as a safety pin. And it is underprotective because—as knee-jerk reactions are apt to do—it responds exclusively to the specific fact pattern which tapped its patellar tendon. It might protect against someone firing a handgun at point blank range, but there is no reason to suppose that an assassin would not prefer a sniper approach, or that a lunatic will choose a firearm over, say, a Piper Dakota. And it does not even do so well, as King candidly admits in the interview.

    In all, this is a frivolous idea. Maybe this would have flown before the House was put back under adult supervision, and maybe it would have survived challenge before Heller-McDonald, but its introduction today is simply posturing.

  • ascap_scab

    Sensible?? No, it’s ELITIST!! Laws that put Congress critters above the common man are neither warranted nor deserved. Laws that make our representatives even more remote from their constituents are counter-productive to our republic. Tell Peter King to “MAN UP“.

  • kranky kritter

    A truly sensible gun restriction that was truly related to the Loughner incident would be one which beefed up the identification of seriously mentally ill folks and better kept guns out of their hands.

    But no, no one has the sense or the stomach for that.

    Instead we get an idea for another new security restriction that treats everyone with equal suspicion, instead of appropriately targeting (oopsie! rude word!) those who can be identified as legitimate threats. Yes, by all means let’s invasively inconvenience regular folks just a little bit more every day, progressively over time. What could go wrong?

    I can’t call King’s idea sensible. I call it blunt, simplistic, and ineffectual. Not to mention useful as a pretense to routinely harass folks. Fortunately, there’s no reason at this point to think it’ll make it out of the crib.

  • Simon

    ascap_scab Says:

    Sensible?? No, it’s ELITIST!! Laws that put Congress critters above the common man are neither warranted nor deserved.

    Presidents and members of Congress can be focal points for people’s anger with an institution, whether that anger is coherent or not, and whether the individual is actually a good proxy or not. The record suggests that Loughner targeted Giffords because she gave the “wrong” answer to an incoherent jumble of a question that he asked her some years before. There’s no particular reason to suppose that a librarian or an employer couldn’t have become the focus, but it seems more likely that people will fixate on public figures, particularly those perceived as representing (or misrepresenting) them.

    One of the errors we routinely make is to suppose that equal protection means identical protection. It doesn’t, and proceeding on the assumption that it does, we’re apt to do what KK mentions in ¶3 above. Members of Congress are subject to heightened threat by virtue of their position (so to speak), and so heightened protections are appropriate, so long as they are appropriately-tailored.

  • Trescml

    So a congressperson drives by your house and you could be arrested for having a gun in your house? Trying having one in DC? It isn’t really workable. It is easy to say we need better mental health screening, but are we going pay to screen everyone? Or can I just report people I think are unbalanced? And once we identify these people all we are going to do is take away their gun ownership rights? You could make illegal extended magazines but then you trample on the rights drug dealers and of lazy people who don’t want to reload. However, in today’s political climate there is near zero chance of that happening.

  • blackout

    I have to laugh at the title of this post and how it would go over in parts of my family. Sensible and gun control are mutually exclusive concepts to a lot of them. Shoot, gun and control aren’t grouped together unless it’s an epithet. lol

  • Thomas

    It makes sense to disallow firearms at political rallies for the same reason they’re disallowed in court houses and the White House. On the other hand, 1,000 feet is nearly a fifth of a mile. That’s four city blocks. If a belligerent cop is bored and pissed off about being on security detail, can he arrest me if I’m carrying my pistol from home to work and I happen to pass by a Borders where a senator is doing a book signing?

    I’m not saying that it’s a bad concept. I’m saying that there might be a smarter way of constructing the law so as not to be so ripe for abuse.

  • elgee

    Murder is already illegal.

    I think it’s interesting that people think that more laws will stop people who are insane.

    Why do you think more laws will stop derranged folks?

  • Trescml

    Since murder is already illegal, we can stop banning private ownership of tanks, anti-aircraft missiles, hand grenades, machine guns, and weapons of mass destruction. Laws can’t stop insane people, but they can reduce the damage they can do. If there were no extended magazines, Loughner would have had to reload earlier, and would have been stopped earlier. But I still think the climate is such that even this sort of ban isn’t going to happen. It will be too easy to spin up people that Obama is going to take away all guns and it would be defeated easily.