Gun toters, conspiracists need a chill-pill

Coming to work on the train this morning, I overheard two male university students talk about how they intended to purchase firearms later that day at a local store. In hushed tones, they talked about Obama and the coming of laws that would rob them of their Second Amendment rights.

They are idiots, but not quite to the same extent as the folks who are trying to convince the rest of us that the Newtown, Conn.,  school shooting was an elaborate hoax using professional actors, all in an effort to build support for tougher gun laws.

Forget the implication that suddenly, after four years in control of the White House and despite controlling the House, Senate and White House from 2009-2011, liberals would now decide the most important thing to do is to stage an elaborate plot to stage a mass murder. The folks behind this conspiracy theory must never have lived in a small town. It’s not like in a big-city apartment complex. People know each other. You can’t bring strangers into town, have their children inhabit your schools and then have them pull off a pretend national story of this magnitude without having a lot of people get suspicious.

And if you’re really into conspiracies and believe the media was all in on it, that would have to include small town papers, as well. I’ve worked for a lot of news organizations. People in this business tend to crawl over each other for a scoop, especially when it involves something that’s getting a lot of attention.

But back to our two young college students on the train. They intrigued me because they seem to represent a broad cross-section of the country that is packing gun shows and making a lot of gun sellers happy these days.

And they don’t seem to have a clue.

So much of how people understand the world is through second-hand perceptions and stereotypes. The toughest of Obama’s proposals announced this week would outlaw assault-type weapons and limit ammunition clips. But if you know anything about politics, you know those things are not likely to appear in a law book near you any time soon.

Republicans control the House, and they tend to represent people who don’t think lax guns laws are a problem. Even some Democrats represents people like that.

Beyond that, Obama expressed his own support for the Second Amendment, and he was careful not to limit that to the right to hunt. He talked about guns for protection. He spoke about rights coming with responsibilities.

I personally don’t think an assault weapons ban would accomplish much. The pro-gun crowd has some slogans that are trite and worn, but the one that says when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns is true. I’ve never heard a credible argument against it.

That said, however, the United States is not about to rewrite the Second Amendment. My college-aged train passengers can relax.

Categories: Crime, Washington

About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.


  1. G. Widdowson

    “They are idiots”

    This is the type of comment that prevents us from having a civil discourse these days.

  2. Ronald D. Hunt

    I think Obama put the assault weapon ban on the wish list so that it could be traded away for other things on the list.

    I do get the impression that something might pass, universal background checks, and either roling the ATF into the FBI, or perhaps removing the assine retrictions put on them that keep from doing their jobs.

    Current law bans the ATF from having a sales tracking database to find illegal gun sales, requires the ATF to destroy background check results after 24hours(these often never get looked at due to not enough staff), the ATF is prohibited from requesting inventory records from gun shops, gun shops are not required to keep inventory records.

    Also would point out that burden of proof for stopping a gun sale is regulated on a per state basis, This is part of what lead to the “fast and the furious” case. Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Florida have such high burdens of proof to stop a sale that illegal gun trafficking is almost impossible to stop.

    Literately, in Arizona, a person on medicaid and food stamps, can walk into a gun shop and buy $50,000 dollars worth of assault rifles, walk out the door and hand them to a Mexican drug cartel, and the ATF has no legal recourse to stop this.

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