As the state of New Mexico considers a red flag law for the second session in a row, the Senate took an alarming step this week. Oh, it had nothing to do with the bill, mind you. Red flag laws are odious things, but we’re almost used to fighting them at this point.
No, the alarming step was what the New Mexico Senate did during the debate surrounding the bill.
The state Senate prohibited firearms in its public gallery and nearby rooms for the first time, with exceptions for law enforcement officials. No specific threats were cited.
Statehouse rules ordinarily allow the open carry of legally owned firearms, along with permitted concealed weapons. Restrictions and screenings for weapons have been implemented in recent years in the state House chamber for the governor’s State of the State address.
Now, this is problematic for one reason above any other and that’s perception.
Despite not citing and specific, much less credible, threats, observers will be free to draw their own conclusions. The most likely conclusion? That concealed carriers represent a dangerous threat and should be segregated from the rest of society.
This is nothing more than an attempt by anti-gun lawmakers to demonize and stigmatize gun owners.
Over and over again, we see anti-gunners and their allies pushing us into a corner. They want us out of sight, out of mind. They want us to feel isolated, alone. The reason? Humans are social animals who need interaction. If one is ostracized, the tendency is to shift your behavior to end the ostracization. That’s just how humans are wired.
This also isn’t groundbreaking research here, either.
Anti-gunners know it and they try to use it. They know they’ll never sway gun owners with their arguments–“dur, dur, you’re a racist” isn’t exactly a winning strategy, it seems, nor is “dur, dur, you like dead kids” for some silly reason–so they try this.
There are absolutely no threats to lawmakers, but the Senate’s decision to exclude anyone carrying a firearm, even though the law doesn’t, is nothing more than an attempt to further stigmatize law-abiding gun owners. They want people to think that we’re a threat, so they simply act like we’re a threat.
The truth is, if the law permits law-abiding citizens to carry in these chambers, then they should be permitted to carry in these chambers. If the Senate doesn’t have the political will to change the law completely, then they shouldn’t be permitted to bar anyone from coming in.
Especially since gun owners–the people most likely to be impacted by these laws–have a vested interest in having their voices heard and understanding what lawmakers are discussing.
Then again, let’s not rule out that as a possibility here. Ban guns in the chamber to discourage gun owners from attending, all while pretending that gun owners either don’t exist or don’t care.
Makes a fair bit of sense to me.
Regardless, though, it’s not something gun owners in New Mexico should take lying down.