The “More Guns” Reaction to Newtown

While proposals to tighten gun regulation in various states (particularly New York, where legislation is moving towards enactment rapidly) have gotten a lot of attention in the days since the Newtown massacre, in some states proposal move in exactly the opposite direction, as Perry Stein points out in a comprehensive piece on gun legislation at TNR. The most predictable is a bill in South Carolina that would allow school employees who already have concealed-carry permits to bring their shooting irons to work. Similarly, a bill in Virginia would require schools to designate at least one qualified person to carry a roscoe around.

But my favorite is in my home state of Georgia, where Republican State Rep. Charles Gregory, who represents among other places the famously pro-gun town of Kennesaw (where, as a publicity stunt aimed at countering an Illinois municipality that banned handguns, each household is required to have a gun present), is taking advantage of the discussion spurred by Newtown to introduce a batch of bills basically repealing the state’s few existing gun regulations. Here’s how The Atlantic‘s Ford Vox describes Gregory–director of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in Georgia–and his legislation:

[W]e can thank Gregory’s childhood steeped in gun culture and his 20-something years steeped in the immature rantings of Ayn Rand for this 2-watt light-bulb moment: responding to a horrific gun slaughter with legislation that strips away gun licensing requirements, prohibits Georgia’s Governor from halting the transfer or sale of firearms during an emergency, and lifts bans on guns in churches, state universities and community colleges. Gregory told the Marietta Daily Journal he wasn’t targeting elementary, middle and high schools because that’s not “politically feasible.” So I’ll give the man some credit for not making your dropped jaw dislocate entirely.

Kennesaw is in the county where I went to high school, so I’m not surprised. I don’t personally know anyone, even there, who admits to a desire to tote a hand cannon or maybe an assault rifle to church in order to feel secure while worshiping the Prince of Peace. But Lord Knows they exist in every corner of our nation, where the worship of lethal weapons is a powerful impulse.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.