In all likelihood, federal legislation predicated on fringe conspiracy theories probably won’t become law. But I find the bills alarming anyway because I want federal policymakers to take their duties seriously and not propose legislation reflecting paranoid delusions.
Republicans want to limit the number of bullets federal agencies can purchase so American gun owners can buy more.
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. Frank Lucas have introduced a bill that would prohibit every government agency – except the military – from buying more ammunition each month, than the monthly average it purchased from 2001 to 2009.
To appreciate just how nutty the issue is, consider this tidbit: the National Rifle Association has already urged its members not to take the conspiracy theories seriously. “Skepticism of government is healthy. But today, there are more than enough actual threats to the Second Amendment to keep gun owners busy… there is no need to invent additional threats to our rights,” the gun group wrote about the ammunition story.
But even after the NRA gave the administration a pass on this one, right-wing lawmakers don’t care, and they’re hearing from constituents who are afraid the Obama administration is (a) stockpiling bullets to be used against Americans; (b) buying up ammunition to keep bullets from the hands of civilians; or (c) both.
This is truly, deeply nutty, and yet we now have federal lawmakers holding hearings on the conspiracy theory and proposing legislation to address the conspiracy theory.
This really isn’t healthy. Perhaps guys like Inhofe and Lucas know better, and they’re offering this bill to pander to the paranoid, making the bill little more than a cynical public relations stunt. Or maybe some far-right Republican lawmakers really have gone off the deep end, and they no longer know the difference between Grown-Up Governing and the Beck/Jones fringe.
Either way, it’s hard not to feel a little uncomfortable with the recent developments.