We all remember the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords outside a Tucson grocery store in 2011. Several people were killed and others severely wounded by a deranged gunman.
Long before the Tucson shooting and ever since, politicians receive threats of bodily harm and death. Yet in most places where legislators are, there are restrictions about carrying firearms. Most local, state and federal buildings have such restrictions about carrying firearms. Generally, only licensed or duly sworn officers of the law are allowed to carry. Many cities and some states also have restrictions about carrying guns in public places.
So the question is whether or not politicians and legislatures should be allowed to carry firearms wherever they are in order to protect themselves against threats and deranged would-be assassins?
One Oklahoma legislator believes they should have the right to carry a gun and protect themselves in public or in the hallowed halls of government. State Rep John Bennett served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a US Marine and is well familiar with the need to protect himself from harm. Since becoming an Oklahoma congressman, Bennett says that he and some of his colleagues have received death threats. A number of state legislators have conceal carry permits, but the permits do not allow them to carry their guns into public buildings.
In response to those threats, Bennett says,
“We don’t protect ourselves.”
“According to the Constitution, the Second Amendment, I can carry in this building, that building, anyplace I want to go except if I do now I’m going to get in trouble, probably get arrested.”
“How many people in here go to public events and public meetings and speak out in public either at the libraries, football fields, schools and places like that? Some of you may carry there anyway even though you’re not supposed to. But you probably do it because those are killing grounds. We have provided killing grounds for the bad guys to come and get us.”
State Rep Steve Martin introduced HB 2522 that would authorize the state attorney general and any assistant attorney general to carry a firearm anywhere in the state after completing firearms safety course. Bennett attempted to add an amendment to Martin’s bill that would also give legislators the authority to carry firearms almost anywhere in the state including the state capitol building but his amendment was blocked.
Martin, who wants to give the right to carry firearms to the AG and his assistants, is against doing the same for his fellow legislators. In explaining why he believes legislators need to resist giving themselves special privileges, he said,
“That might start us down the dangerous path of giving ourselves really unjustified privileges that the average citizen doesn’t have.”
“I would hope that the members would not support the idea of sticking legislators in this simply because we’re legislators and we’d like to have that privilege.”
So once again, I ask you if politicians should be allowed to carry firearms anywhere they to in order to protect themselves? Being a public servant does make them more of a target than the average person. The Second Amendment says they can carry a firearm, but too many state and federal laws have been passed that ban that Second Amendment right to carry firearms.
In most instances, I would say yes, that politicians should be given the right to carry a firearm wherever they go, but then I think about giving that right to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, it causes me to think twice about the idea.