Pennsylvania Congressman Compares Gun Control to Banning Spoons

barletta_abcRep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) went on ABC’s This Week yesterday and offered into the national discourse a charmingly smug gun-rights metaphor: Guns kill people the same way spoons make people fat.

“This is a perfect example why people believe Washington is broke,” noted Barletta, who represents parts of northeast and north-central Pennsylvania, during a discussion on gun violence. “This horrific incident in Newtown, and here, what is our debate? It’s focusing on guns when there is not one person at this table who really believes that that’s the root of what happened there and — when we have people that get into the mindset that they want to harm people, as a former mayor, I know people will get guns no matter what laws we pass, just like the illegal drug —”

He was interrupted by New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman. “I caught you on a false statement there, because at least I do believe that guns are the root. There are crazy people everywhere, but mass murderers are a lot more common here than —”

“You believe guns are more important than dealing with mental health and our culture,” Barletta interrupted back. “Is our culture lending itself that we’re raising children that are desensitized to murder, to killing people?”

Krugman finished his thought: Countries that have effective gun control have fewer instances of gun violence. To which Barletta countered: “Would banning spoons stop obesity?”

If Barletta’s argument is a new one to you, congratulations: You have never found yourself caught in that particular nook of the vast right-wing echo chamber. The logic goes like this:

  1. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
  2. “If guns do kill people, then surely spoons make people fat.”
  3. “That’s how a liberal thinks! Do you want to ban spoons, liberals?”

There have been creative variations over the years, like one popular bumper sticker that reads: “If Guns Kill People Then Spoons Made Rosie O’Donnell Fat.” (Why Rosie O’Donnell? Oh, right: She’s a gay liberal.)

It might be noted — you know, yet again — that no one has proposed banning guns outright. Instead, Sen. Diane Feinstein’s bill would ban semiautomatic weapons and close loopholes in gun-purchasing regulations. However, the NRA and allies like Barletta seem intent instead on increasing the number of guns in circulation — or at best leaving that number unreduced — in response to the national gun crisis. On Fox News Sunday this week, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre even argued against an expanded background check system, arguing the Obama administration would turn that “universal check on the law-abiding into a universal registry of law-abiding people, and law-abiding people don’t want that.”

All that said, it’s interesting that conservatives have become more vocal about mental health in the wake of the mass shootings. Like Barletta, Gov. Corbett found himself arguing for better mental health coverage in the United States in the wake of Newtown, in spite of actually having cut Pennsylvania’s mental health budget during the last session. (He proposed a 20 percent cut; it ended up being only 10 percent after going through the legislature). Corbett will give his 2013-2014 budget address tomorrow.

4 Responses to “ Pennsylvania Congressman Compares Gun Control to Banning Spoons ”

  1. Steve says:

    “….response to the national gun crisis.”

    And there you’ve just outed yourself as being biased. By saying we have a “gun crisis” you are anthropomorphizing the guns! Last I checked, no gun has ever taken itself out of its locked case, loaded itself, pointed itself at someone, and pulled its own trigger.

    YOU (author) are part of the problem! If you are serious about having a discussion of problems related to violenced (whether perpetrated by firearms or not), you must first take your personal bias out of the storyline.

  2. BiffSarin says:

    “Krugman finished his thought: Countries that have effective gun control have fewer instances of gun violence.”

    True, if you have fewer guns, you have fewer GUN crimes but that does NOT translate into lower crime. Violent crime in the UK (where guns of all kinds are essentially banned outright) is 3.5 times the rate in the US. So taking away people’s ability to defend themselves emboldens the criminal who already has the advantage of surprise in his criminal activity and often has the size advantage over his victim especially in cases of rape. Take a gun out of the equation and what are the chances that a 120 lb woman could defend herself against a 250 lb man intent on doing her harm?

    If criminals know that they won’t get shot in a home invasion, how many more would adopt that tactic? Will you defend your family against 3 armed assailants with a baseball bat?

    Oh, and “Why Rosie O’Donnell? Oh, right: She’s a gay liberal.”

    No, because she is a liberal hypocrite who wants to ban guns while her own bodyguard carries a concealed handgun. Her being gay has absolutely nothing to do with it. Nice try at playing the “Gay card” though. /Sarc.

  3. Grog says:

    Banning the so called “assault weapons” is directly against the 2nd amendment. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I’ll say it again, the 2nd amendment is to ensure the people are in control if the government and not the other way around. To ensure tyranny does not happen in this country the people are to have the ability to own any weapons the military has access to. That being said, at the moment the public can purchse, but with much scrutinizing paperwork and licensing, true assault rifles and even tanks. The “assault weapons” that are being targeted by the proposed ban are nothing more than dressed up semi-automatic hunting rifles.

  4. Andy says:

    You are all correct in my opinion. All this talk about scary looking guns, and guns are the problem. It’s all BS. Maybe society, the media, and the politicians are the problem. There’d be more mental health routes for people with issues if the stupid politicians would stop spending all our money on bogus, unneeded garbage. The second ammendment also states “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”. What don’t people get? That means hands off to the fed, the state, and the local. The 2nd means we can walk down the street with an automatic if we want. But somehow we let them get away with taking that away too. When is this country going to wake up and see what the gov is doing? They are trying to keep us down. We are financially screwed, so they create more debt. Gee that helps. Obummer decides he has the right to kill whoever he wants without question, reason, or abiding by the constitution at all. The VP says by a double barrel shotgun. He’s an idiot. They are taking over. And people in the U.S. are letting them. They are promoting it. WTF! is wrong with people. It’s time to take this country back. You want to ban guns, go for it. I’m keeping mine. You don’t like, come try to take them. and good luck!!

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