Kansas would have dodged a nationally embarrassing issue on Thursday if only a couple hundred Republicans had switched their votes and rightly backed Mitra Templin for state representative last August.
Alas, Rep. Willie Dove beat Templin in the primary, and the Bonner Springs resident was easily re-elected in November.
Then on Thursday, the media in Kansas and across America were reporting this disturbing news:
Dove brought a loaded gun into the state Capitol on Tuesday (legal), unstrapped it from its ankle holder (he said his ankle was hurting) and then left the weapon in a hearing room open to the public.
Thank God an adult found it, turned it in and no one was hurt. Dove retrieved the gun later.
I’m a hard-liner on firearms: Dove should resign from the Legislature for his irresponsible behavior.
On the realistic side, I’ll bet he’s joking about it with colleagues by the end of today.
But how about this as a compromise? House members of both parties should take this incident seriously and censure Dove for his reckless actions.
Gun lovers, of course, were backing the GOP representative.
Rep. John Whitmer, a Wichita Republican, at least said Dove should have been more responsible, but then fell back on the Second-Amendment-trumps-all reasoning.
“It’s a Second Amendment right. And just because I, you know, absentmindedly or intentionally speed, do you take away my car?” Whitmer said. “Just because my behavior is bad you don’t take away my right to do something.”
Dear clueless lawmaker: Actually, law enforcement does take action against people for that kind of behavior, whether it’s on purpose or not.
It was almost surreal that the Dove incident became public on the same day a Senate committee held a hearing on a gun-related bill.
This one would not allow people to legally conceal carry guns on college campuses. This would be the right action to take. Supporters of the bill outnumbered opponents about 5-1, according to one reporter there. No action was taken Thursday.
Essentially, current law will allow guns to come onto campuses starting July 1.
Dove told reporters he would buy a shoulder holster for his gun. Instead, he should stop trying to be so macho and leave the weapon at home. Better yet, he ought to resign from the House, but I’m not holding my breath.