Jan 052011

By Frank Wessling

This is also the year that the gun lobby can celebrate a victory in Iowa. We have returned to the Wild West, where almost anyone can strap on a handgun and walk down the street ready to shoot it out with bad guys imagined around every corner.

County sheriffs must now issue a firearms permit to any adult who asks and isn’t disqualified by specific law. The sheriff can’t require that you know anything about guns, although you are supposed to get training of your own choosing.

Up to now, the sheriff could require that your handgun be concealed when you carried it. No more. Now we can be public about our distrust and fear, or whatever it is that causes a desire to carry a gun in Iowa in the year 2011.

Those of us who don’t feel the need to depend on guns may be wishing the Legislature could require anger management counseling as a condition for carrying a gun. At least when “carry” permits were harder to obtain, the man in a rage because he lost his job or feels “disrespected” in some way had to go home to get his pistol before opening fire in the mailroom or the office or the city council hallway or the school board meeting room.

Now the anger impulse can reach thousands more trigger fingers immediately.

This is not progress in sensible, civilized living.

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