It’s upsetting to hear Senator McCaskill’s rationale for her vote (hat tip: Missourinet) against the concealed carry bill that just failed in the Senate. The bill would have established reciprocity between the 48 states that allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons with a permit. The problem is that states have different regulations governing the permits – some states don’t allow concealed carry permits for people with criminal records or a history of mental health problems. If the bill had passed, a permit holder who got the permit in a state with virtually no restrictions on who could hold a permit to carry a concealed firearm could then use that permit in states that have strict regulation on concealed carry. In other words, it would have essentially gutted the standards in states that have more restrictions on who could carry a concealed weapon.

McCaskill’s explanation for her “No” vote is that she thinks it’s a “state’s rights” issue, and further that “it is a foot in the door to allow the laws in Vermont on gay marriage” to be enforced here in Missouri.

What??? There are plenty of examples you could give of so-called “states rights” issues, like affirming the right of states to enforce stricter environmental regulation than the federal government, rather than citing the “right” of states to maintain the separate status of a minority. Let’s remember that the slogan of “states rights” has been used throughout American history primarily to defend the institution of slavery and later the practice of segregation.

I don’t think Senator McCaskill is a racist, nor do I think that she hates gay people. She has been good on issues like the hate crimes bill in the past. But just because she has generally had a good record in the past doesn’t mean she gets off the hook for grasping for the example of gay marriage as a bogeyman. I certainly hope that she will make use of public channels (like Twitter) to make it clear that she respects the LBGT community here in Missouri and around the country.  

UPDATE: McCaskill responds:

My argument was about states rights,re conceal & carry. Gay marriage is another example of states having rights to decide w/out Washington. 2 minutes ago from web

UPDATE 2: I just got this statement from Sen. McCaskill:

“In talking about my recent vote against the gun provision offered in the Senate, I wasn’t clear when I stated that my vote against that provision was because it came down to a states’ rights. I was expressing my frustration in that some who argue that states shouldn’t respect the laws, certificates, or permits from other states when it’s convenient, like with gay marriage, but then argue that they should when it’s convenient on another issue, like gun rights. They can’t have it both ways,” McCaskill said.