Post-Giffords Shooting, Here Comes The Knee-Jerk Anti-Free Speech Anti-Gun Legislation

You knew it would happen. They never let a good crisis go to waste.

Rep. Robert Brady is leveraging the Tucson tragedy for an attack on free speech by proposing legislation that would make it a crime to say or display any speech or symbols that could be perceived as threatening to a member of Congress:

Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, said he will introduce legislation making it a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.

Brady’s decision to offer the legislation comes less than 24 hours after a gunman attempted to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, in a shooting that claimed the lives of a federal judge, and a nine year-old girl, among others.

“The president is a federal official,” Brady said in a telephone interview with CNN. “You can’t do it to him; you should not be able to do it to a congressman, senator or federal judge.

“This is not a wake up call, this is major alarms going off,” he said.

Brady is particularly incensed over a web posting by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during the 2010 election in which she targeted 20 House Democrats, including Giffords for political defeat. The posting showed a map of the United States with the 20 Democratic congressional districts identified by gun sights.

“You can’t put bulls eyes or crosshairs on a United States congressman or a federal official,” Brady said. “I understand this web site that had it on there is no longer in existence. Someone is feeling a little guilty.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy wants to leverage the shootings for more gun control despite, ironically, Rep. Giffords herself being a gun-owning proponent of gun rights:

One of the fiercest gun-control advocates in Congress, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), pounced on the shooting massacre in Tucson Sunday, promising to introduce legislation as soon as Monday.

McCarthy ran for Congress after her husband was gunned down and her son seriously injured in a shooting in 1993 on a Long Island commuter train.

“My staff is working on looking at the different legislation fixes that we might be able to do and we might be able to introduce as early as tomorrow,” McCarthy told POLITICO in a Sunday afternoon phone interview.

Gun control activists cried it was time to reform weapons laws in the United States, almost immediately after a gunman killed six and injured 14 more, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in Arizona on Saturday.

Many said that people with a history of mental instability, like the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, should not be able to buy a gun — and no one should be able to buy stockpiles of ammunition used by the 22-year-old assailant.

Or maybe members of Congress should exercise their 2nd amendment right to arm themselves (as some already are).

Regardless, the opponents of liberty are tireless and will use any excuse they can latch onto.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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