Tea Party Congressman: Citizens Should Have Same Weapons As The Military
January 24, 2013 Scott Keyes / Think Progress & Tom Dart / The Guardian
The same week that three people were injured in a shooting at a college campus in Texas, after an argument escalated into violence, freshman Republican congressman Ted Yoho argued that the 2nd Amendment could be interpreted broadly enough to allow ordinary citizens access to the same equipment that the military uses..
Tea Party Congressman: Citizens Should Have Same Weapons As The Military Scott Keyes / Think Progress
(January 22, 2013) --A freshman Republican congressman is arguing that the 2nd Amendment could be interpreted broadly enough to allow ordinary citizens access to the same equipment that the military uses.
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), who unseated longtime Rep. Cliff Stearns last year thanks in large part to Tea Party support, sat down with Florida political blog The Shark Tank over the weekend to discuss gun violence. The freshman GOPer said he'd spoken with a number of constituents recently and approvingly relayed their sentiment: "when you read the Second Amendment," Yoho said, "the militia had the same equipment as the military to protect them against the tyrannical government." Preserving those protections, he argued, is "more important today than ever":
YOHO: On guns, [my constituents] were saying that the sentiment, when you read the Second Amendment, is that the militia had the same equipment as the military to protect them against the tyrannical government. I think it's more important today than ever, that we uphold our second amendment.
Military weapon technology is considerably more advanced today than when the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, and so is US military structure. Back then, the pinnacle of firearm technology was cannons and muskets, and citizens joining the military were expected to supply their own weapons. Nowadays, hydrogen bombs and tanks exist.
The Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by originalist Justice Antonin Scalia, sensibly ruled that Congress may prohibit citizens from carrying "dangerous and unusual weapons." After all, we all know at least a few people who we'd prefer not to possess nuclear arms.
This is why Yoho's declaration is a dangerous one. When single-shot guns that took a long time to reload were the most advanced gun available, there was less to fear in citizens having the same access to weapons as soldiers. To hold that same standard in the nuclear age is naive and alarming.
HOUSTON (January 22, 2013) -- Three people were injured in a shooting at a college campus in Texas on Tuesday, after an argument escalated into violence.
The incident took place between 12.30pm and 12.50pm CT at a Lone Star College campus to the north of Houston, according to the Harris County sheriff's office. Eyewitness accounts suggest that two men began arguing and both suffered gunshot wounds during the altercation. A maintenance man who was an innocent bystander was also shot, in the leg. A fourth person, a woman, was taken ill at the scene. All were hospitalised.
Police said that both suspects were in custody. One was detained at the campus then taken to hospital while the other was on the loose for more than an hour before reportedly turning himself in at a medical center.
"We do have two people of interest that we have detained and are questioning at this time but we haven't determined their exact involvement, who did what," Captain Ken Melancon of the Harris County Sheriff's Office told a news conference. "We don't believe any other suspects are out there… we do believe we have the people of interest."
Aerial footage from local television showed police and paramedics tending to two injured people on the campus and more than a dozen police cars blocking surrounding roads as students were evacuated from the premises.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting an alert posted on the college's website had advised students and staff to take immediate shelter where they were. Four nearby schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution.
"I saw two dudes basically get into an altercation and... the dude that shot, he basically got angry and, you know, started shooting the other guy. A lot of people heard a lot of shots," Brittany Mobley, a student, told KHOU local news.
The North Harris campus near George Bush Intercontinental Airport is one of six run by Lone Star College, which has a total of 90,000 students, making it the city's biggest higher-education institution.
It is the fifth shooting incident at a US educational establishment since 10 January. However, many Texas politicians have criticised President Obama's plans for increased gun controls following the Newtown massacre last December.
Rick Perry, the Texas governor, said last week that prayer, rather than tighter firearms restrictions, was the best response to combat violence in society.
"Our office remains in contact with state law enforcement and Governor Perry has been briefed on what is known so far about the situation. His thoughts and prayers are with those that have been impacted," a spokesman for Governor Perry told the Guardian.
Texas prohibits concealed handguns on campuses but the state's politicians are debating a bill that would allow university students and staff members with concealed handgun permits to carry their weapons on college premises, including in classrooms.
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