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  • This article by Betsy Marston originally appeared in the Feb 21, 2013 issue of High Country News.
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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Heard Around the West     Comments: 0

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Gun gluttony

News: Feb 21, 2013
by Betsy Marston

heard_43.5

WASHINGTON "Seattle's nice," says photographer Regina Johnson, "but it isn't Paradise." Courtesy Regina Johnson.

UTAH AND WYOMING

Could Second Amendment defenders have gone too far, even in this gun-loving region? If two calmly reasoned editorials in Utah and Wyoming's major daily newspapers are right, you'd have to say, yep, looks like it. Editorializing last month, the Salt Lake Tribune took the Utah Sheriffs' Association to task for its "rant" accusing President Obama's administration of planning to seize people's guns, even as the group questioned the legitimacy of any federal limits on gun ownership. The paper remarked that the group's dire predictions were overblown, but that in any case, the Article VI, Clause 2, of the U.S. the Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause, makes federal law supreme over state law, including state law officers. The paper concluded that "the threat of the Sheriffs' Association and one hot-headed legislator to arrest federal officers attempting to enforce any new restrictions on gun ownership -- after they have passed both houses of Congress -- is nothing but grandstanding." In Wyoming, a Star-Tribune editorial Feb. 3, titled "Gun gluttony stopped," congratulated the state's House of Representatives for shooting down a flurry of gun initiatives, one of which would have allowed guns to be brought into any government meeting. This was an unfortunate idea, the editors noted dryly, because "high emotions and well-armed citizens don't always mix well." Unless the citizens in question feel the need to storm the county commission, they added, why bring a gun to talk with elected officials? Only if your purpose is intimidation, the editors said. No government should "bend to the whims of whoever is most heavily armed."

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