Yesterday I wrote about the crazy rumor that there was a plan by some GOP members to try to add an amendment to the Matthew Shepard Act that would allow gun owners to carry their concealed weapons from one state to another. The rationale? To defend gay rights.
Crazy rumor, right? Well, um, no, actually. Because on the Huffington Post today Christopher Barron, the chairman of gay conservative organization GOProud, wrote Concealed Carry: If You’re Interested in Preventing Hate Crimes, Let’s Stop them Before They Happen. Yes, it’s a call to tack a gun-rights-expanding amendment to the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill (which itself will probably become an amendment to another bill) in order to defend gay rights.
Twenty-five years ago, Tom Palmer and a male companion were threatened by a group of 20 or so young males on an empty street in San Jose, California. The group shouted anti-gay epithets and made death threats.
Palmer and his companion ran, and the attackers gave chase. Moments later, Palmer pulled out a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, one he owned legally, and pointed it at the group. Palmer was positive they intended to seriously harm or even kill him and his companion.
The gun stopped the group in their tracks. Palmer told them that if they got any closer to him, he would use the gun and shoot. The young men didn’t take that chance, and Palmer credits that pistol for saving his life.
. . . If Congress is actually interested in preventing violent hate crimes, they should pass legislation that will empower individuals to defend themselves before they become another hate crime victim.
And, yes, this was published on the very day when a crazed white supremacist used a concealed gun to kill a security guard at the Holocaust Museum.
Barron’s bad idea meets worse timing. But what’s genuinely at stake with an idea like Barron’s couldn’t now be more clear.