As an actor might ask, what’s the motivation, here?
The debate, part of the national fallout over the massacre of grade-schoolers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December, has filled committee rooms in St. Paul. It also has sparked a flurry of gun owners who want to carry their loaded weapons into the Capitol itself.
Licensed permit-holders may carry their weapons into the Capitol so long as they notify the Department of Public Safety. When the legislative session opened in January, there were 523 such notifications. As of Thursday, that number had spiked to 723 — an increase of 38 percent in six weeks. By comparison, in 2012 there were only 56 new gun-carrying notifications during the entire year.
I suppose that there are a bunch of factors, some of which the gun nuts are happy to acknowledge, others not so much.
- The claim they openly make is that they’re demonstrating how truly responsible they are. After all, everyone knows that concealed-carry permit holders don’t commit crimes.
I think it far more likely that the real motivations involve one or more of the following.
- Intimidation. We’re here, we’ve got our guns, and we’re going to get our way. Period.
- Expressions of unthinking, authoritarian submission to the dictates of gun-nuttery in general, and the NRA in particular. Yeah, on the part of self-styled “rugged individualists.”
- Pure fantasy. Who knows when a would-be mass shooter might appear, and I’ll be the hero that takes him out! I suspect that many thousands of hours, every day, of firearms-freak alone-time, are spent wallowing in that sort of, for them, almost orgasmic reverie.
None of those last three, the really compelling factors for the crazies, are anything that I regard as particularly worthy of respect. Quite the contrary.