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The House finally voted today against introducing guns into a new place, namely the Capitol. That's right, it's OK with our courageous lawmakers for licensed gunmen to take their weapons into saloons and playgrounds and state parks. But when it comes to the Capitol, well, that's obviously a different matter. As it turns out, there are legitimate restrictions on Second Amendment rights.
This embarrassing moment in House history came as lawmakers were debating yet another gun bill, this one to allow judges to pack heat on the bench. Rep. Henry Fincher tried to amend the bill to let current and former legislators carry their guns at the Capitol. At which point, our hero Rep. Stacey Campfield tried to amend Fincher's amendment. If legislators can carry guns, Campfield asked logically, why not everyone?
The sound of tightening sphincters echoed throughout the House chamber as Campfield explained:
"They've gotten their permit and they've jumped through the hoops. They should be allowed to carry here in the Capitol. If we have no problem with fellow legislators, why would we have a problem with our fellow citizens? ... We're no better than anyone else. If they've gone through the training ... why shouldn't they be able to carry?"
Campfield's proposal went down by a vote of
53-42, but Fincher insisted lawmakers should go armed even if ordinary citizens can't. "It's a dangerous world. ... We are in danger because of our public positions, because of the stands that we have to take. We become targets," Fincher said before the House voted 51-39 to reject his amendment too. The House then voted 85-10 to let judges have their guns, which should give them a little more clout when demanding that witnesses answer the question.
Humphrey on the Hill