The shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, that killed six people and injured others has brought renewed attention to the gun control debate, and two Democratic state lawmakers are trying to stop firearms from being brought inside the state capitol building. However, given the commonwealth’s fervent gun culture on both sides of the aisle, their attempts appear destined to fail even in the aftermath of the Arizona massacre.
In a letter to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, sent Monday, state Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, asked the House leader to ban individuals from carrying firearms into the chambers.
From cn|2 Politics:
“It’s a shooting gallery. We’re all down there on the floor,” Owens said in the interview. “You don’t have to be a good shot to hit any of us.”
Currently, state law allows visitors to the capitol to openly carry guns usually while being followed around by state police. The law also enables lawmakers to carry a hidden firearm if they have a concealed weapons permit.
The rule was criticized last year when a number of lawmakers complained about gun-toting visitors roaming the halls during the legislative session. In one instance, a man sitting in a packed House gallery was escorted out after officers suspected he was armed. It was learned later that the man was only wearing a holster.
At the time Stumbo said it was a genuine concern but in a closed-door meeting the House Democratic caucus voted against changing the rule. It should be noted that Stumbo has co-sponsored a peculiar bill in the 2011 General Assembly to amend the Kentucky constitution that would “create a right to hunt, fish and harvest non-threatened species using traditional methods.”
Taking Owens’ letter campaign further, Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that she plans to file a number of proposals to curb the availability of firearms, including a bill that would require parents to sign a form acknowledging visitors are allowed to carry guns in the capitol.
From The Herald-Leader:
Marzian said she realizes the bill … “doesn’t have a snow ball’s chance in hell of passing.”