Thursday, November 24, 2016

Does the legislature even need to meet? On guns, apparently not

Posted By on Thu, Nov 24, 2016 at 7:46 AM

click to enlarge MORE GUNS: Charlie Collins make the case again.
  • MORE GUNS: Charlie Collins make the case again.
The headline is prompted by an article in this morning's Democrat-Gazette about Rep. Charlie Collins' plan to continue to try to force concealed weapons onto college campuses. So far, he's only been able to pass a law allowing weapons on vote of college supervising boards.

But he'll be back to try to remove that barrier in 2017, as expected.

But he says now he's sure he'll pass the measure because of a further increase in the number of Republicans in the legislature, 75 of 100 in the House and 24 of 35 in the Senate. They had a comfortable majority in 2015, too. Democratic Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville, a supporter of local control of the gun issue and more simply, an opponent of more guns on campus, thinks Collins is right.

Which leads me to my headline. Are guns — and just about every other issue — neatly defined as Republican v. Democrat? Is it really a given that ALL Republicans vote in lockstep on virtually every issue of contention — medical practice on women, human rights, guns. If so, perhaps they could just mail in their proxies and save taxpayers the per diem

I'd like to think that there a few Republicans — NRA members, hunters, handgun owners and CC permit holders though they may be — who understand that campuses are generally very safe and that the presence of guns might create problems for public safety officers, not to mention inject deadly firepower into situations sometimes fraught with emotion. One or two, maybe? Or does Arkansas just gave Wayne LaPierre its proxy on all gun issues?

Points to ASU's president, Chuck Welch, for gingerly calling for continued local control of the question. UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz spoke strongly on this early in his tenure, but he's felt the anger of Republican legislators since. Legislate like Collins venerate the 2nd Amendment beyond all historical meaning, but have less good feeling for the 1st (remember the women's basketball players?)


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