This Is Incompatible with Democracy

[Content Note: Guns.]

Republican U.S. Representative Brian Babin of Texas has introduced legislation [pdf] "to allow Members of Congress to carry a concealed handgun anywhere in the United States, with exceptions," the exceptions being the White House, "or wherever the United States Secret Service is prohibiting the possession of a firearm," and airplanes, "unless the Secretary of Homeland Security finds that the Member of Congress has successfully completed the training program established" in the bill, which would naturally be funded by taxpayers.

A press release from Babin's office explains: "This bill the USCP to grant Members of Congress the ability to concealed carry in nearly every conceivable scenario — including federal parks and buildings, the national mall, to and from their offices, at schools and military bases — with only a few limited restrictions."

The emphasis is original. His office really wanted to highlight how Members of Congress could definitely be carrying concealed weapons "in nearly every conceivable scenario," should his proposed legislation be passed.

In case you didn't get the message, Babin is also quoted in the press release: "The tragic events of last week make it clearer than ever that we need to take steps to enable Members of Congress to protect themselves. We also know that an even greater tragedy was averted only because of the brave actions by two armed Capitol Police special agents who happened, mercifully, to be on site. My bill would ensure rank and file Members of Congress have the opportunity to defend themselves by providing them the ability to concealed carry in nearly every scenario with only a few restrictions."


So, here's the thing: This is incompatible with representative democracy.

I don't want any member of Congress to be harmed. I also don't want a country in which constituents can't approach their elected representatives without fear of being shot over a disagreement.

And, no, I don't believe that is a far-fetched possibility, given that a number of Republicans, including the president, have physically assaulted members of the media for asking them questions they don't like. There is an escalating war on anyone who seeks accountability from elected officials in the Republican Party, and I don't believe for a moment that's irrelevant when considering whether Members of Congress should be allowed to carry concealed weapons "in nearly every scenario."

We the People (especially marginalized people) already increasingly exist in violent opposition to the police who are supposed to protect and serve us. We don't need to exist in violent opposition to the officials we elected to represent us, too.

And if the Republican Congressional majority wants to do something about the threat of violence in the hands of someone with a grudge and a gun, then the solution is working with Democrats on some sensible gun reform.

Like, for example, making a history of domestic violence a disqualifier for gun ownership. Had that been a federal law, the man who shot their colleague would have been prevented from owning a gun.

Averting attacks altogether seems like a better strategy to me than making the case for more public shoot-outs.

[H/T to Eastsidekate.]

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