It was inevitable. After spending several days following the Tucson massacre working to curtail the 1st Amendment, the left and the media are now targeting the 2nd. As always, they have help from either those legitimately concerned for their safety or others trying to scavenge political points from the dead and wounded.
Following the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is planning to push a bill 'to ban the carrying of any firearm within 1,000 feet of what he described as 'high-profile government officials.'' Presumably, King will issue massive measuring tapes to all Americans, or perhaps GPS alarms so we know when we violate his private space. This follows attempts by Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) to rein in freedom of speech by limiting the use of crosshairs in political commentary.
Either of these actions would be silly at any other time. But following Saturday's tragedy, they will both receive more attention than they deserve. It is incredible irony that politicians seek to honor Rep. Giffords by undermining two amendments she holds dear.
Prior to the shooting, Giffords had read aloud the 1st Amendment on the floor of Congress. And even The New York Times led a front-page story off with an anecdote about her own gun ownership.
In the media's anti-gun culture, none of that matters. 'Is it time to rethink the 2nd Amendment?' MSNBC anchor Richard Lui asked on the Jan. 11 'Jansing & Co.' Journalists would have answered with a resounding 'Yes!'
In the few days since the attack, The New York Times has covered 'gun control' 13 different times in stories and columns. The paper called 'the well-dressed gun lobbyist' 'the true public menace' and urged politicians to institute gun regulations.
The Washington Post was only slightly less over-the-top with nine stories and columns. The Jan. 11 paper included an editorial and two opinion columns calling for gun control. With subtle headlines like 'Blame the guns,' 'Don't retreat on gun control,' and 'Getting control of guns,' the Post took aim at a perennial left-wing enemy: gun rights.
Forget the idea that guns don't kill, people do. At the Post, guns kill all on their own. As columnist Eugene Robinson put it, the 'bloodbath' 'had everything to do with our nation's insane refusal to impose reasonable controls on guns.' Richard Cohen attacked our 'insane gun laws' on the way to recommend even more such.
Almost incomprehensibly, Politico led its home page with 'Missing from Arizona shooting debate: Guns,' claiming 'a bipartisan truce is in effect on gun control issues in Washington.' Apparently, the left didn't get the memo.
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley once more fired a shot at gun ownership, though the Supreme Court smacked him down last year. According to The Chicago Tribune, he called for 'some common sense gun laws' in response to this 'national tragedy.'
Over at the lefty Huffington Post, the attack moved from a few columnists to the top of the front page. Nothing truly left-wing ever moves into the media consciousness without making it to the top of the HuffPo front page.
On Jan. 12, the site led with a huge photo of a man in a gun store holding what appears to be a shotgun. It accompanies huge headlines declaring: 'FIREARM FINANCE: An In-Depth Look At America's Thriving Industry.' The article takes various digs at the $3.5 billion a year gun industry and ends with a quote from an anti-gun professor saying, 'the NRA depends on scared members.'
Earlier in the week, author and Emory University Prof. Drew Westen called gun deaths 'genocide.' HuffPo reporter Jason Linkins blamed this week's increase in Glock sales on an 'inplacable, gnawing cynicism that permeates our existence and sends us, sobbing, into a fetal position.' He didn't even mention the equal increase in liberals trying to grab guns like they take tax dollars. Gun store owner Greg Wolff told Bloomberg the truth, explaining, 'When something like this happens people get worried that the government is going to ban stuff.'
Naturally, the debate is being spun so fast, you'd think we were discussing regulating tops, not guns. CBS's Dean Reynolds led viewers to believe Arizona was to blame for the shooting because it has 'among the most permissive gun laws in the nation.' Over at CNN, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin claimed on the little-watched 'Parker-Spitzer' show that Barack Obama is actually 'against gun control.' Even his own website admits he is 'in favor of handgun law registration requirements and licensing requirements for training.' Hardly pro-gun rights.
The loony left network MSNBC mostly spent its time blaming the right for the incident. When it took a breath, it talked guns. Host Rachel Maddow detailed a series of mass shootings and posed the question, 'do we have any tools to stop the next American gun massacre?' That was the mindset across media outlets. In the words of the Post's Cohen, 'It's the gun that did it.'
If the media and left have their way, the 2nd Amendment will be among the casualties of this insane attack.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.