Yesterday, the Senate held its first hearing on gun reforms. At the hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked NRA president Wayne LaPierre if he really thinks the second amendment’s purpose is for citizens to arm themselves against the government. LaPierre responded that this was the purpose of the amendment, and also for citizens to protect themselves absent of the government. Baltimore Police Chief James Johnson called this view of gun rights “scary, creepy, and not based on logic”:
DURBIN: Your NRA members say, you just don’t get it. It’s not just about hunting, it’s not just about sports, it’s not just about shooting targets, it’s not just about defending ourselves from criminals, as Ms. Trotter testified. We need the firepower and the ability to protect ourselves from our government, from our government. From the police, if they knock on our doors we need to fight back. Do you agree with that point of view?
LAPIERRE: Senator, I think without any doubt if you look at why our Founding Fathers put it there, they had lived under the tyranny of King George, and they wanted to make sure these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and have to live under tyranny. I also think though that what people all over the country fear today is being abandoned by their government if a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs, that they’re going to be out there alone and the only way they’re going to protect themselves in the cold in the dark when they’re vulnerable is with a firearm. And I think that indicates how relevant and how essential the second amendment is in today’s society to fundamental human survival.
DURBIN: Well, Chief Johnson, you heard it, the belief of the NRA is that the Second Amendment has to give American citizens the firepower to fight back against you, against our government. So how do you conduct your business in enforcing the law and not knowing what is behind that door.
JOHNSON: I find it to be scary, creepy, and simply just not based on logic.