Support the Second Amendment and gun rights? Gail Collins doesn't want your kind in her town. In her Thursday New York Times column, "More Guns, Fewer Hoodies," the paper's former editorial page editor dropped her trademark (attempts at) humor in her attempt to use the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida to call for severely limiting access to firearms: "Really, just leave us alone. If you don’t like our rules, don’t come here. Is that too much to ask?"
Collins, a sudden liberal convert to states rights, was notably mute on the recent cases of Meredith Graves and Marine Ryan Jerome, arrested in Manhattan under dubious circumstances for carrying concealed handguns.
You would think that this would be a great time to address the question of handgun proliferation, but it has hardly come up in Washington at all. This is because most politicians are terrified of the National Rifle Association. Also, the small band of gun control advocates are busy with slightly less sweeping issues, such as their ongoing but still utterly futile effort to make it illegal to sell a weapon to anyone on the terror watch list.
The only serious debate Congress is likely to have this year on the subject of guns involves whether to allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry their handguns into other states.
Say you were from -- oh, maybe Florida, where George Zimmerman was carrying a legal, loaded pistol while he was driving around his gated community, looking for suspicious characters. In Florida, even non-Floridians can get a concealed carry permit. You can get the application online. From the Department of Agriculture. (“Fresh from Florida.”)
There is a serious trend toward states letting their residents carry concealed weapons with no more background check than you need to carry a concealed nutcracker. All of this is based on the gun rights lobby’s argument that the more armed law-abiding people we have on our streets, the safer everybody will be. Under this line of thinking, George Zimmerman’s gated community was safer because Zimmerman was driving around with his legal gun. You can bet that future Trayvon Martins who go to the store to buy Skittles after dark will seriously consider increasing their own safety by packing heat. The next confrontation along these lines may well involve a pair of legally armed individuals, legally responding to perceived, albeit nonexistent, threats by sending a bullet through somebody’s living room window and hitting a senior citizen watching the evening weather report.
You would think all of this would cause states to stop and rethink. But no. And, personally, I’m worn down from arguing. Florida, follow your own star. Arizona, arm your kindergarteners. Just stop trying to impose your values on places where the thinking is dramatically different.
Really, just leave us alone. If you don’t like our rules, don’t come here. Is that too much to ask?