Rep. Peter King (R-NY) will introduce legislation that would ban guns from being carried within 1,000 feet of a federal government official. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the nation’s more high-profile pro-gun control figures, supports the bill. He added some other measures he would like to see the President adopt, including overhauling the federal background check system, better information-sharing in background check databases, and actually appointing a head of the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), which incredibly has had no appointed director in nearly five years.
Let’s take a closer look at Peter King’s proposal. Aside from it being a fairly selfish measure (the “No Guns Near Peter King Act of 2011″), I find it to be analogous to when John Dingell surprisingly proposed a carbon tax in 2009, in the middle of the cap-and-trade debate. That was rightly seen as a gambit by the Dingellsaurus to split the coalition for a climate change bill, and to act as a deliberate poison pill. Plus, the bill itself is pretty nonsensical, unless you believe that a cop would have procured a search warrant and checked Jared Loughner at the 1,000-foot mark of the Congress on Your Corner event, or if you believe that there ought to be metal detectors or full-body scans 1,000 feet from constituent events.
Consider if such a law had been in place when Jared Loughner went on his rampage Saturday. Nothing would have changed, except that he would now be facing one or two extra felony charges, on top of the five federal murder and attempted murder charges he already faces (and the state charges that are expected later).
Keep in mind that the last thing the House took up before the Tucson shooting rampage was a bill, which passed almost unanimously, that cut Congress’ budget by 5%. So who will pay for this expansive security apparatus that would be needed to enforce King’s bill?
The more obvious conclusion is that King isn’t all that serious about gun control at all; he wants to propose something with no chance of becoming law to counteract the legislation, from Carolyn McCarthy (who’s from his neighboring district on Long Island), that would ban high-capacity magazine clips. I suspect this has more to do with local New York politics than anyone thinks. And of course, “independent” Bloomberg is giving King a high-profile assist.
It is already illegal in the U.S. to carry a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. King’s legislation to make it illegal to knowingly carry a gun within 1,000 feet of the president, vice president, members of Congress or judges of the Federal Judiciary, would offer government officials the same protection.