Hopefully Governor Heineman can be convinced to veto the expansion of “gun free” zones in Nebraska to include universities and hospitals. Off limits places in Nebraska are already a mile long, and adding to them seems to be rather pointless.
“I’m not intending to anger the NRA,” the Wilber senator said, “but why on earth would you need a concealed weapon in a hospital?”
Is there a chance Grandma will pull her IV out and try to stab someone with it?
Might there be a doctor lurking about with a sharp scalpel?
Karpisek made his comments as senators voted to add hospitals and college campuses to the list of places at which concealed weapons are banned by law.
Because there’s absolutely no good reason to bar people from carrying in hospitals. People have to get to and from hospitals too, and how many city hospitals are in atrocious neighborhoods? Ever visited Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia? Go visit, and tell me if you wouldn’t feel safer with a gun or an armed escort. These arguments could be used for any number of places, and they are not serious arguments. How well did Virginia Tech’s gun ban work for them? These are feel good measures. It’s not serious policy.
A little bit about the NRA’s role here. The NRA has seemingly not produced any alert on the issue. It looks to me like someone is dropping the ball here. The NRA state affiliate in Nebraska doesn’t even seem to have a web site, so it’s possible Nebraska isn’t a strong state for them. The state organizations are important, because the national NRA are often a lumbering bureaucracy, and are slower to act.
It looks like they tried to have the hospital language pulled from the bill, but it doesn’t look like they were successful. If you read the final version of the bill, the language is still in there. Some are condeming this deal attempt at selling out. I certainly understand where this view comes from, because it sucks to lose ground.
Sometimes in the political process you’re just going to lose, and there’s not much you can do. In that case you have a choice, you can either shout into the wind and have a really awful bill pass, or you can try to cut a deal and have a less awful bill pass. Sometimes the choice isn’t between winning and losing, but between losing and losing badly. This, pretty clearly, would be one of those cases. The NRA tried to broker a deal to get the hospital language removed, and the legislature snubbed them and passed the bill as is. Even with a deal attempt, we still lost badly. Maybe it would be better not to do these kinds of things. It would certainly feel better. But I’m not sure, from a practical point of view, it makes sense to take two steps backwards when it could be reduced to only one.
I won’t excuse the NRA for failing to rally the grass roots in Nebraska, without so much as even an e-mail alert. If the Governor does veto this measure, it will be because of the hard work of gun owners and bloggers in Nebraska and out who self-organized to apply pressure to Heineman’s office. I certainly hope they are successful.