Benewah County (Idaho) Commissioner Jack Buell isn’t a left-wing, granola-chewing, tree-hugging animal lover from New York.
Nor is he a gun hater.
Buell, the straight-shooting owner of a St. Maries trucking company, owns guns (as do fellow commissioners N.L. “Bud” McCall and George “Bud” Mills), loves guns and is a member of the National Rifle Association.
So, when Buell says he won’t vote for a proposed ordinance that would require all Benewah County households to have guns and ammunition, you’d better believe there’s something terribly wrong with the idea.
Buell and his fellow commissioners know the goofy plan being pushed by the Tenth Amendment Coalition is unenforceable and as unconstitutional as outlawing gun ownership altogether. As county Prosecutor Nancy Wolff argues, the Second Amendment “right to bear arms” implies a freedom of choice to own - or not to own - a gun.
Fortunately, Buell has gotten his fellow commissioners to come around to his way of thinking. McCall and Mills had flirted with the idea of passing a toothless gun-in-every-home resolution to appease the mob that had collected 1,000 signatures asking for one.
The three deserve kudos for having the political courage not to enact bad law. Said Buell: “I understand where they’re coming from. But we’ve got to come out of this thing not looking foolish.”
Too late, Jack.
The Tenth Amendment Coalition should have dropped this lost cause months ago. By working now for a countywide vote on the issue, it invites a media circus that’s certain to paint all gun advocates as nuts who have no use for an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution other than their own.
Lost in the controversy will be the coalition’s more legitimate beefs about water, wetlands and landfill regulations as well as lack of local input on federally managed lands.
Buell also rightly sees the coalition’s gun gripes as a federal issue, not a local one. The Tenth Amendment Coalition would make better use of its time lobbying Idaho’s sympathetic congressional delegation to protect current gun rights.
Coalition leaders don’t like being lumped with Idaho’s white supremacists and tax protesters. Certainly, there’s no evidence that they’re hatemongers or tax dodgers.
But their insistence on pushing this bizarre measure also shows they’re not mainstream gun owners either.
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria/For the editorial board