In June of 1995, we opened Buffalo Bill’s Grille in Vienna, Austria. The décor included signs, including one that read, “Check your guns at the door, Cowboys.” Europeans loved the joke, mocking the primitive lifestyle of the old west.
This past week, the Iowa Legislature and the governor ushered Iowa back to the 19th century, by passing a new gun rights law. The bills were labeled by the media as a “Stand Your Ground Law,” but it is much more.
The law includes allowing children as young as five years old to carry and use pistols with an adult present. And, though your paperboy can’t show up armed with a pistol, from now on, no adult needs to go along for him to carry a sawed-off, yes, sawed-off, shotgun.
Under the law, armed gunslingers are allowed to populate the state capitol and may be allowed in courthouses, where arguments and tough issues are the stuff of business every day. Should your children take a field trip to tour the state capitol? Is it safe to voice your opinion on a controversial issue any more?
What an insult to Iowa’s highway patrol, sheriff’s deputies and police officers who have made our government buildings safe places. They, who the voters have sent to Des Moines to govern, have forsaken modern-day problem solving skills like discussion, negotiation and compromise, opting instead to place the citizens of Iowa in ludicrous situations premised on their own perceived rights and obsession with one-upmanship.