Sane and reasonable people agree that political battles should be fought with ideas, principles, and words — not guns, bullets, and bombs. But in a nation of more than 300 million, it must be expected that at least a small minority will be neither sane nor reasonable.
With that in mind, Peter King, the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning proposed federal legislation that would prevent people from knowingly bringing guns within 1,000 feet of an event at which members of Congress and federal judges are appearing. (This law also would apply to the president, the vice president, and members of the Cabinet but — unlike congressmen and judges — they have security details to protect them.)
This seems pretty commonsensical. It does not, in my view, compromise the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. Even in the old West, cowboys hung up their guns when they entered a saloon.
Such a law will not be a panacea. Anyone carrying a gun openly at a political rally already draws attention. “Concealed carry” is unlawful without a permit in most states and, it goes without saying, lunatics and extremists don’t care what laws are on the books.
But if this can provide even a small measure of additional protection for public servants who are too often too vulnerable, it’s worth considering.