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Opening Arguments

Indy heat

Wow. The NRA convention in Indianapolis is expected to draw 70,000 people this weekend. My first though was that it would be pretty cool to have the convention here sometime, but I doubt the city could even handle that many visitors over a couple of days. And it probably wouldn't thrill Mayor Henry since he's an enthusiastic member of Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against People Killing People With Guns or whatever the hell it's called.

That sentiment has been on display in Indy -- gather the gun rights people togerther and you'll draw the gun control crowd, too.

INDIANAPOLIS — Gun control supporters gathered Thursday on the eve of the annual National Rifle Association convention in downtown Indianapolis to plead for the gun rights organization's help in stemming a rising tide of homicides in the host city.

"We have too many young people with guns and they're using them to settle disputes," said Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence President Stephen Dunlop.

Dunlop told an audience of about two dozen people that the only answer is to keep guns off the streets. Other speakers said something needs to be done to prevent young black men from shooting other young black men, when both are often teenagers.

Really? They want the NRA's help? What should an NRA member do about urban decay and drug culture and youth violence above and beyond what every other citizens should do?

Of course, they don't really want or expect the NRA's help. That would be like the cattle industry helping PETA promote vegetarianism. They're just using the NRA's presence to get out their usual message, which is, "Let's stop all this Second Amendment nonsense and start confiscating the guns."

To be fair, the NRA is proposing something I'm not exactly crazy about, either:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- With concealed weapons now legal in all 50 states, the National Rifle Association's focus at this week's annual meeting is less about enacting additional state protections than on making sure the permits already issued still apply when the gun owners travel across the country.

The nation's largest gun-rights group, which officially opens its meeting of about 70,000 people Friday in Indianapolis, wants Congress to require that concealed weapons permits issued in one state be recognized everywhere, even when the local requirements differ. Advocates say the effort would eliminate a patchwork of state-specific regulations that lead to carriers unwittingly violating the law when traveling.

But a "patchwork of state-specific regulations" is sort of the whole point of federalism, isn't it? After watching the federal government grow and grow and co-opt one state prerogative after another all of my lifetime, I'm not suddenly going to cheer Washington on just because I might like this particular outcome. And it seems especially dangerous for Second Amendment advocates, who've been fighting the federal government off forever to suddenly start seeking its involvement. You know, "give 'em an inch" and all that -- next ime around, you probably won't like what one-size-fits-all scheme they come up with.

I know from my brother's experience that traveling across country and having to know every jurisdiction's rules is a pain in the ass. But he does it, and I doubt there are a whole lot of gun ownerrs who "unwittingly violate the law." Going online and checking the jursdictions along his route is just a part of his trip planning like packing and getting soembody to look in on the cat.