South Carolina State Senator Lee Bright believes that in defense of America’s school children, teachers should be armed to the teeth. Appearing on Fox News Radio, Bright joined commentator Alan Colmes for the latest round of brainstorming regarding how to get more guns into schools. During the discussion, Bright suggested that not only should teachers be armed, but they should carry machine guns.
His comments came as the two discussed instituting firearms courses in high schools, which Bright, a Tea Party Senate challenger who is seeking to replace Republican Lindsey Graham, believes is crucial to school safety. Though light years from reality, Bright’s calls for more guns in schools and heavily armed teachers falls perfectly in line with what is increasingly becoming the conservative position on school safety. Last October, school officials in Gainesville, Georgia mulled over a proposal which would have installed assault rifles in each of the district’s schools. Prior to this, even more aggressive and costly efforts were taken in Clarksville, Alabama, where pro-gun conservatives elected to issue handguns to teachers.
During their talk, both Colmes and Bright put their ignorance of constitutional law and legal precedent on full display, agreeing between each other that the federal government did not possess the authority to regulate guns or ban firearms on school grounds. When asked by Colmes if teachers and ordinary citizens should be allowed to own machine guns, Bright responded by saying, “Well, I don’t see how the government can regulate it.”
This however flies directly in the face of not only numerous acts of Congress and long-standing Supreme Court decisions regarding guns and the second amendment, but also recent decisions, such as the 2008 ruling on District of Columbia v. Heller, where conservative justice Anton Scalia reiterated that the government does retain the power to ban guns from “sensitive areas,” such as schools. Though encyclopedic (or any) knowledge of Supreme Court rulings or standing legislation may be a bit much to expect from a Teabagger extremist, a basic understanding of constitutional interpretation and the rule of law typically remains a desirable quality in U.S. Senate candidates.
Bright is the latest ultra conservative, out-of-touch-with-reality Tea Party upstart to seek a Senate seat. In Georgia, child labor enthusiast and Tea Party congressman Jack Kingston is seeking to take Saxby Chambliss’ Senate seat, running with proposals such as obligating poor and underprivileged school children to perform free janitorial duties in exchange for their school lunches. Such classist sentiments would appear to be shared by Bright, who in December, took to invoking the now well debunked welfare-queen myth as he attempted to call for an end to unemployment extensions, saying,
[box type=”shadow”]”We’ve got a lot of people who won’t work. And they won’t work because we’ll provide their food, and we’ll provide their housing… and we’ll provide them their spending money. We’ve all seen it, the folks in line who are using [food stamps], yet they’ve got the nicest nails and the nicest pocketbook and they get the nicest car.”[/box]
It can be a frightening prospect, the idea that South Carolina Republicans can be both crazier and more conservative than current US Senator Lindsey Graham, but if state Senator and U.S. Senate candidate Lee Bright is any indication, the coming midterm election should prove to be nothing if not a race to the intellectual bottom of a very shallow pool.