The stereotype of the disturbed war veteran, originally created by opponents of the Vietnam War and handily resurrected by opponents of the Iraq War, is clearly the image Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has in mind when she thinks of our veterans.
Feinstein’s proposed “assault weapons” ban contains provisions exempting government employees and retired police from ownership of the banned weapons, but not US military personnel and veterans. When Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) recently proposed an amendment to exempt military personnel and veterans from the ban, she rejected it. Tiffany Madison neatly summed up Feinstein’s response in an article in her “Citizen Warrior” column for the Washington Times. Here’s a salient quote:
In response to his amendment Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a notorious proponent of gun control, demonstrated a rather callous disregard for the 1.8 million veterans residing in California, and a fundamental misunderstanding of mental health issues.
“The problem with expanding this [exemption] is that, you know, with the advent of PTSD, which I think is a new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War,* it’s not clear how the seller or transfer of a firearm covered by this bill would verify that an individual was a member or veteran and there was no impairment of that individual with respect to having a weapon like this.”
– Tiffany Madison, “Feinstein exempts police, not “PTSD” vets from gun ban,” Citizen Warrior, Washington Times, 6 March 2012
Callous disregard indeed: In Feinstein’s mind, the burden of proof should be placed on veterans to prove they aren’t mentally impaired, rather than on courts or court-appointed medical authorities to prove that they are. (As it is today, for anyone.) You might as well demand that anyone who applies for their first marriage license must prove that they have never been married. It cannot be done.
Given this attitude, it’s surprising Feinstein hasn’t seen fit to amend her own bill to include even police officers. The recent murderous rampage of Christopher Dorner in Feinstein’s own state suggests that the continuously redefined “assault weapons” must have a certain Lovecraftian quality about them: They are apparently so scary looking that the merest glimpse of one carries the risk of insanity, even for the most trustworthy members of our society.
It comes back to defining what the gun control issue is all about. If you agree that guns have a legitimate legal purpose, whether in the hands of the police, the military, or law-abiding citizens, then the issue is not about controlling the guns, but about controlling the people. And control of the people are what Feinstein and her ilk are all about. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) made this objective abundantly clear a few years ago in a Freudian slip when commenting about the difficulties encountered in drafting ObamaCare:
“…when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”
– John Dingell, speaking with host Paul Smith on Detroit WJR News/Talk 760 radio, March 22, 2010, via Wikiquote at http://tinyurl.com/b9xq3d9* Feinstein seems to consider PTSD to be unique to veterans of the Iraq War, which
she opposed. Apparently the ongoing war in Afghanistan, which she supports, is
less stressful for some reason or other.