Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A CARD AND A CowARD

Just when the Spring shooting season was winding down, the yearly nut job coming out party which peaks around Hitler's birthday, what does our "brilliant" Congress do, but telegraph an early start for next year's festivities, ironically to start around Washington's (real) birthday.
Going above and beyond restoring the Bush Administration policy of briefly allowing in loaded weapons, the Democrats overwhelmingly voted for Oklahoma Republican Representative Tom Coburn's addendum to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, acronymously nicknamed CARD, allowing them everywhere in national parks, as long as the owner has a concealed weapon permit and the state law of the location allows concealed firearms. What has one to do with the other, you ask? Plenty.
Previously blocked by a judge citing "environmental impact," and opposed by park officials who claim regulation actually makes the 84.6 million acres they manage among our nation's safest places, while the Obama Administration's Interior Department conducts a federal environmental review (a glimmer of hope for a reversal), citizens will have full reign of their right to bear arms in national parks. To defend against who? Smokey the Bear? Bambi? Do we really need rifles, shotguns and semis on ranger led hikes or as we sing songs around a campfire? Pack a pistol with your picnic basket? BYOG?
While these lawmakers typically flee the District of Columbia during the summer months, don't they realize that our Capitol, from Cherry Blossom season in April forward, is for all intents and purposes just one big national park, one of the most visited areas in the country, with a gun control law that the US Supreme Court declared unconstitutional less than a year ago, and an economy highly reliant on vacation travel? Do they want another gun to go off in Ford's Theatre? Have they forgotten the sharp decline in local tourism just a few years ago after 9/11? Are they trying to plunge the area into a further and/or prolonged recession? These same boobs almost simultaneously voted against allocating funds to close Gitmo, not wanting those currently confined dangerous people running around on our soil, without a more detailed plan. Shouldn't they have applied that same level of scrutiny before creating a potential peril within? Is the rationale, "let's give the kooks our national playgrounds and maybe they won't act up anywhere else?" Please...
Because here's the practical result. Attendance at National Park Service land which averages 270 million visitors a year will plummet. What used to be a relatively cheap vacation will have too high a potential human cost attached. 43 of our states and the District of Columbia have provisions similar to the Second Amendment and this latest addition will effectively give those 44 a reach into the operation of federal land. This will translate into less revenue for the Treasury, put on plastic or otherwise, whose average take from park visitors is 308 million dollars annually. Credit card use, already depressed from overextension, will decrease further, because this bill has the potential dampening effect of the diminution of attractive rebate features, the restoration of the annual fee, and the calculation of interest from point of posting, phased in most likely in that order, which will drive the prompt payers, known in the industry as "deadbeats," away. Consumer debt is a business, after all. The government taketh, the companies will find another way. Taking the long view, CARD, by eventually leaving the purveyors of plastic with nothing but their best customers, the people the rest of us call "deadbeats," may ironically position these companies to be future bailout candidates and benefactors of the Bernanke printing press, which currently looks to be poised to go on in perpetuity. So Obama, by not expending political capital on this fight and failing to "stick to his guns," no pun intended, on his on-the-record position that reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban makes "sense," will most likely in the long run not realize his espoused goal for going along with and signing this bill - helping the economy. CowARD. It remains to be seen what benefit, if any, his refocus on curbing international small arms trafficking (CIFTA) will have, when Americans can purchase and play so easily at home.
Those hoards of shoppers who used to populate our malls armed with credit cards will now have a more dangerous toy and new "amusement parks" in which to vent their economic frustration, in every state except California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York. At least the Statue of Liberty's safe for now! New York's tourism office, and those of the other five states that pattern their law unsunseted after the expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban, must be ecstatic. They could ask for no better tourism promotion than Obama's signature on this bill.

Karen Ann DeLuca