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Sun Aug 3, 2014, 08:58 AM

Jonathan Kay: America’s firearms culture forged by paranoia, racism and civil rights unrest


Jonathan Kay: America’s firearms culture forged by paranoia, racism and civil rights unrest
Jonathan Kay | August 2, 2014 | Last Updated: Aug 2 12:24 AM ET

This week, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a 2011 Florida law that makes it illegal for doctors to ask parents if they keep a gun in their house — notwithstanding the fact that the presence of such a weapon is, according to one expert, “43 times more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than to be used in self-defence.”

Earlier this year, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation known to critics as the “guns everywhere bill.” The law allows Georgia residents to carry guns into bars, most government buildings and gun-friendly churches. On the same day, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill that would ban any local government from enforcing ordinances that restrict the open carrying of firearms. “Kansans have long believed the right to bear arms is a constitutional right,” he explained.

Meanwhile, members of a group called “Open Carry Texas” are marching proudly through busy stores and parking lots armed with assault rifles, small children in tow. In one iconic photo, an overweight man with a massive gun slung over his shoulder stands in front of a rack of baby toys at Target, drinking from a bottle of water. According to Open Carry Texas founder CJ Grisham, such stunts will help show Americans that liberals’ collective fear of guns is “irrational.”

Well then colour me irrational. And colour all of Canada irrational, too — even the conservative parts. There is a fine line between responsible gun-rights advocacy and America’s GOP-enabled Yosemite Sam gun-cult carnival — and I feel comfortable drawing that line around the diaper section of my local big-box store.

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