I have no problem with arming America, as outlined by the NRA last week. If you want to put guns in schools, churches and manned missions to Mars, I am all for it. Only one condition: If we require universal gun ownership, then we need to outlaw beer.
Guns, fine. Beer, fine. Guns and beer together, what are you, nuts?
Walking into a liquor store with a gun strapped to your belt just strikes me as a problem waiting to happen. The clerk is going to need some immediate clarification: Are you here to rob me or do you just want to enjoy a few pulls off a bottle of Schnapps while you pluck nuts off a hickory tree?
Of course there is precedent: You go anywhere in the South (or the North, or pretty much anywhere except Maryland) and they sell beer at gas stations. What could possibly go wrong with that?
I know that there are some people out there who freak out at the sight of a pistol, and that they would have all weapons melted into ploughshares — except this group is not too keen on agribusiness either, so maybe they would have them melted into hummingbird feeders.
But I think most reasonable Americans have no real objection to guns in the hands of responsible citizens.
The problem as I see it is that beer and responsible don’t mix.
So there’s a real simple solution: Apply the laws against drinking and driving to drinking and possessing a gun. If you have a BAR and a BAC, the judge gives you 30 days for being an idiot. The NRA will have no objection to this, since it has always stood for sober, responsible gun ownership. The only potential flaw is that a lot of guys don’t reach for their gun UNTIL they get drunk.
And despite what the NRA wants us to believe, a forest of guns dangling from pendulous beer bellies doesn’t make me feel any safer. Although maybe it’s not about us; maybe it’s about them. If you’re feeling inadequate in other aspects of your life, wink wink, there’s nothing like a little manhood in a holster to right the ship. And beer often serves the same purpose.
That’s why an anti-drinking gun law would make people in the middle like me feel a lot better. Because I’m still trying to come to grips with the thought of all Americans wearing pistols like it was Virginia City circa 1870 — and the thought that they might be buzzed adds a layer of unwanted complexity.
No lie, I was at a Popular Department Store about six months ago and saw a cat with one arm, an eyepatch and a sidearm. I’m sure he is a fine individual, and no threat to society. But I have never been back to that store.
Initially, this incident made me think that universal gun carrying would be horrible for tourism. Who wants to visit a nation where even school crossing guards are packing heat? But on reflection, no, this might be the best thing for tourism ever. Think of the cliché busload of Asian tourists wearing cowboy hats and snapping pictures of the Grand Canyon. What if they were issued a piece as soon as they disembarked from the plane from Tokyo?
Move over karaoke, we got open carry.
From what I hear, guns are the one thing you can’t get in Europe, so imagine the demand. Sure, you might have a little trouble explaining to the Swedes why they would want a gun in the first place, but I think once they get the hang of it, the details will take care of themselves.
Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at email@example.com.