A radical pro-gun group out of Milwaukee called Wisconsin Carry is threatening to sue the city of Madison for not allowing concealed carry on its Metro buses. They'll probably lose, but I doubt that winning in court is their reason for bringing suit.
This kind of thing is part of a national strategy brought to us by the National Rifle Association. A couple of decades ago, the NRA started a strategy of opposing even the faintest of reasonable gun control laws, sometimes even ones that had overwhelming support from its own members. A year ago, for example, in the wake of the gun massacre in Newtown, the NRA opposed an expansion of background checks that was supported by 75% of the organization's own members.
Why on earth would the NRA be so unreasonable? It's because by fighting every single gun control measure and, in fact, by going on the offensive (and I do mean offensive in every sense of that word) to push for guns everywhere, the gun extremists have pushed the debate so far in their direction that really effective gun control measures can't even be mentioned in the political mainstream.
My own views on guns would be considered radical to those on the other side of the issue in the context of America in 2013, but not in any other part of the world, or even in the United States of forty years ago. I support a complete ban on the manufacture, sale or possession of a handgun or semi-automatic or automatic weapon anywhere in America. That would leave legitimate hunting rifles and shotguns for which permits and registration would be required. In addition, I think that owners should have to prove competence every so often and pay an annual registration fee just as we all do to get our drivers licenses renewed.
In my mind that is just reasonable. Shouldn't we ban weapons that have no legitimate purpose beyond killing and maiming people? Shouldn't we require at least as much competence and regulation of the remaining deadly force as we do for drivers of cars?
But what strikes me and may strike many of you as just common sense would be considered a political nonstarter in today's environment.
We need to change this conversation. We do that by not being wimps. Those of us who believe what I believe about guns should just say it and keep on saying it. Leaving the field to the radicals in groups like Wisconsin Carry just continues to let them pull the debate in a direction that is way, way out of the mainstream.
So, it's not enough for Wisconsin Carry to lose this fight. We need to take the fight back to them and reverse the gun-saturated mindset that is needlessly taking so many lives.