Those politicians that push for gun-free zones are hypocrites, at least in the eyes of many gun owners. Mainly because lobbying for an unarmed populace is the epitome of “Do as I say, not as I do.” They believe in having armed security for their protection wherever they go, but for whatever reason they do not believe that same courtesy or, to be more precise, right should be extended to you.
In other words, when their personal safety is on the line they want to have firearms at the ready. Yet, when your personal safety is on the line, well, it seems they’d rather you’d be unarmed, come what may.
It’s this apparent hypocrisy that prompted over 40,000 people to sign a petition called the “Eliminate armed guards for the President, Vice-President, and their families, and establish Gun Free Zones around them,” in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 people were slain, including 20 small children.
The petition reads, “Gun Free Zones are supposed to protect our children, and some politicians wish to strip us of our right to keep and bear arms. Those same politicians and their families are currently under the protection of armed Secret Service agents. If Gun Free Zones are sufficient protection for our children, then Gun Free Zones should be good enough for politicians.”
Given that the petition had amassed so many signatures, the White House was forced to respond. The threshold needed to warrant a response was 40,000 at the time the petition was created. The White House has since upped that threshold to 100,000 signatures.
Here’s what the White House had to say in statement released this week:
We live in a world where our elected leaders and representatives are subject to serious, persistent, and credible threats on a daily basis. Even those who are mere candidates in a national election become symbols of our country, which makes them potential targets for those seeking to do harm to the United States and its interests. In 1901, after the third assassination of a sitting President, Congress mandated that the President receive full-time protection, and that law is still in effect today. Because of it, those who are the subject of ongoing threats must receive the necessary and appropriate protection.
At the same time, all of us deserve to live in safer communities, which is why we need to take responsible, commonsense steps to reduce gun violence, even while respecting individual freedom. And let’s be clear: President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. You can see him talk about that in a previous petition response:
But the common-sense steps the President has proposed don’t infringe in any way on our Second Amendment rights. We ought to be able to keep weapons of war off the streets. We ought to close the loopholes in the background check system that make it too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to buy guns — an idea that has the support of 90 percent of people in the United States.
That’s why the President and an overwhelming majority of Americans are calling on Congress to pass gun safety legislation that closes loopholes in the background check system and makes gun trafficking a federal crime.
A minority in the Senate is blocking this common-sense legislation to reduce gun violence, but President Obama is already taking action to protect our kids with executive actions. He is taking the steps available to him as President to strengthen the existing background check system, give law enforcement officials more tools to prevent gun violence, end the freeze on gun violence research, make schools safer, and improve access to mental health care.
Is it just me or did the White House totally miss the point?
No one is really suggesting that the President or the Vice President should not have armed security guards. Well, at least most rational people aren’t suggesting that. The real point of the petition is twofold.
First, gun-free zones are modern killing fields, as rock star and Second Amendment advocate Ted Nugent noted in an open letter to Vice President Biden.
Second, because gun-free zones create an environment where people are unarmed and defenseless, they should be outlawed. To put this another way, responsible gun owners, those who value their natural right of self-defense, should be allowed to carry — open or concealed — in any place they have a lawful right to be so that they have the capacity to protect themselves should a serious threat emerge.
Of course, this latter point extends to schools. Yes, there should be armed faculty and/or student resource officers in every school. To paraphrase the National Rifle Association, the optimal way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
That’s the point of the petition. But it seems that the White House did not really get it or, more likely, they purposely ignored it. Given this, that line about we “deserve to live in safer communities” is particularly irksome.
If the White House wants to make communities safer, it’ll push gun laws that uphold and protect one’s right to keep and bear arms in public places. That’s one “commonsense” way we can reduce gun violence and prevent a mass shooting. It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again, an armed society is a polite society.