Lansing Puppet Show

Lansing Gun Legislation Puppetry

Last week the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill to allow most gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training. The legislation is being pitched by proponents as an efficiency effort to align with constitutional rights. But it is widely opposed by law enforcement as a potential danger to communities.

I will leave it to the discretion of readers to jump into the viper pit of that debate. The very specific point I wanted to highlight is this: Gun manufacturers and NRA leadership have a disproportionate influence over our state legislators and the consequence of their brilliant but incredibly dangerous marketing effort is weapon sales to many Americans who are either not willing or not capable of being responsible gun owners.

It is, of course, in their best interest to do so.The decline in outdoors activities means falling sales of traditional hunting equipment. And the unfortunate durability of their product doesn’t help either. Unlike, say, modern household appliances, guns don’t have a planned obsolescence. With even rudimentary care, they last a long time. To sell more, they need new markets. To open new markets, they need to streamline the process. But is that necessarily a good idea for our state and nation as a whole?

I am asking the question, not trying to provide the answer. Obviously the topic is divisive. I actually got the idea last week when the House passed the bill — well before the awful incidents in Alexandria and San Francisco — and decided it would be needlessly contentious. (Ironically, I chose instead to draw a cartoon that touched on abortion issues.)

So, anticipating reactions, I don’t think my timing here is either “spot on and proves the point” or “a disgusting display of opportunism.” I’m hoping it’s more “seriously now, how can we reduce gun violence?”

1 Comment »

  1. Jeremy Gordon Heiken said,

    June 19, 2017 @ 7:17 pm

    As a discussion point, it is interesting to compare our handling of firearms to our handling of motor vehicles. The recognition of motor vehicles as inherently dangerous to the general population resulted in regulatory permitting requirements before the year 1900 (internationally) and around 1903 in the US. And it goes without saying that we continue test to each individual’s skill level for the right to drive a motor vehicle legally. Each vehicle must certify to NHTSA-defined safety requirements to minimize danger to ourselves and those around us.

    Now part of the legal difference between firearms and motor vehicles is that firearms are explicitly named in the Constitution (by amendment in the Bill of Rights). Never mind for a minute that motor vehicles did not exist at the time of the creation of the Bill of Rights.

    And I have a family of dedicated gun owners and hunters – who have a great deal of respect for the power and proper use of these weaponry.

    But is it in our best interest to eliminate permitting or training requirements for carrying concealed weapons? I think it is a fair question to ask.

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