If you want a good indicator of how far off the rails today’s conservatives have become on gun issues, check out John McCormick’s report at Bloomberg Politics on the big trouble Dr. Ben Carson’s gotten himself into:

Ahead of a weekend trip to Iowa, potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson sought to assure supporters Wednesday evening that he’s a strong Second Amendment supporter.

As he inches closer to the prospect of a presidential campaign, Carson used a conference call to try to address questions about his loyalty to gun rights. Skeptics often point to a statement the neurosurgeon-turned-conservative-activist made in 2013 to conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck, who asked whether people have the right to own semi-automatic weapons.

“It depends on where you live,” Carson told Beck. “If you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it.”

Turns out it’s possible to convince “the base” you’re a damn RINO squish even on Glenn Beck’s show. But now Carson’s back into the unassailable position of a stone fanatic:

Carson said that “under no circumstances” would he “allow a bureaucrat to remove any law-abiding citizen’s rights for any kind of weapon that they want to protect themselves.”

Anti-aircraft batteries? Nuclear weapons? No matter: best to err on the side of extremism in today’s GOP.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.