ome people just need a little attention.
They will do and say any foolish thing just to engage you in conversation – a conversation that has to focus on them.
Oklahoma State Senator Nathan Dahm must not be having as much fun as he did after graduating from home school high school and going to Romania as a missionary.
The Broken Arrow Republican has spent much of his time in the legislature proposing poorly conceived, often unconstitutional legislation that grabs headlines and wastes time.
His latest proposal would allow Oklahoma residents to carry concealed weapons – loaded or unloaded – anywhere in the state.
Dahm found a way to get the attention he obviously lacks.
And just in case the rest of the world might have ignored his incredibly unwise bill, Dahm named it the “Piers Morgan Act.” Of course, Morgan doesn’t exactly hide from notoriety so he immediately went to Twitter and challenged the part-time cleaning company manager, software app developer, and “producer” - I put producer in quotes because I’m not sure which major productions have been shot in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma – to a debate on gun control. Not surprisingly, Morgan would be willing to host the debate on his show.
How convenient for both of them.
“The Second Amendment says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and yet when we require our citizens to jump through hoops, pay fees and undergo a process that presumes they're guilty of something until proven otherwise, their rights are being infringed upon,” Dahm said in a press release. “Senate Bill 1473 simply says Oklahomans can carry firearms in all the places currently allowed by law, but they will no longer be required to obtain a license to do so.”
That sounds good to everyone - well, everyone who has absolutely no actual knowledge of the constitution. Dahm can quote the Second Amendment but he apparently isn’t as polished when it comes to the 10th Amendment.
Dahm has proven his ignorance since taking office.
He put forth several other gun bills in 2013, including a bill that threatened penalties for anyone the enforcing federal government gun restrictions in Oklahoma and a bill that opposed a federal ban on guns in schools.
The 10th Amendment is clear that anything the constitution doesn’t reserve for Congress becomes a matter for the state. However, any law passed by Congress overrides state law.
The Supremacy Clause found in Article II of the Constitution isn’t hard to understand. The Constitution and Congressional law are the “supreme law of the land.”
Page 2 of 2 - All of the recent state bills to nullify Congressional acts are merely symbolic. The State of Arkansas tried to nullify desegregation laws in the 1950s. But in Cooper v Aaron, the Supreme Court made it clear that the state officials were out of line in their attempts to circumvent national laws.
I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the current set of justices to overturn that ruling.
But Dahm got exactly what he wanted. Morgan paid attention to him, and unless something upstages his carnival legislator act, he will get a national television appearance out of the deal.
That is a lot of fun for a former missionary turned self-employed software developer.
These symbolic bills are offensive to those of us who expect our legislators to make laws that actually benefit the people who elected them.
I know the NRA will reward Dahm when he comes up for re-election and he will score major points with the Tulsa County TEA Party.
But requiring a license doesn’t infringe upon your rights.
I have a driver’s license. If I wanted to drive a commercial vehicle, I would need a different license. Electricians and plumbers have to be licensed.
Most cities even require licenses for dogs.
But somehow, Dahm thinks licenses for gun ownership infringe on his rights.
He is wrong. He sought attention. And it looks like his dreams will come true when he gets to have a heated debate on CNN.
This represents the lowest common denominator in both politics and journalism.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org