April 2, 2023

Mercedes Schneider: Calling Out Some “Ban Books, Protect Guns” Hypocrisy

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Mercedes Schneider is a teacher, writer and researcher in Louisiana. In this piece, she digs up some stark contrasts in policy makers’ feelings about what is dangerous, and what is not. Reposted with permission.

So much manufactured to-do over protecting children from books instead of magazines….

The book-blaming, gun-excusing hypocrisy is just too easy to find among headlines these days.

Here’s a smidge of that smudge from lawmakers in five states:


Ban the books.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has called for legislation to restrict what children and teens can check out from public libraries.

“This is not about banning lifestyles or any other topic,” Landry said. “This is again, about protecting the innocence of children in this state. Any member of the press or public who says otherwise is purposely being dishonest about making this more about just protecting children.” (02/11/23)


Protect the guns.

“In this testimony, you stated the following in response to a question from Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.): ‘we do not finance the manufacture of military-style weapons for civilian use,’” Landry wrote.

Landry also said the response “called into question your ability to do business in several states, including Louisiana.”

The remark was a reference to a potential violation of Texas state law, where a newly enacted statute bars companies with more than 10 employees from discriminating against “a firearm entity or firearm trade association” if the companies seek to work with a governmental entity.

The bond commission SFO, dated December 2019, included a provision saying the state reserved the right to terminate a business relationship with any approved financial institution if the firm engaged in restrictive practices against law-abiding citizens, which included “the right to purchase and sell arms.” (10/18/21)


Louisiana has already pulled back from doing business with two banks – Bank of America and Citigroup – over the companies’ refusal to work with certain firearms manufacturers. Eliminating more banks could result in Louisiana receiving less favorable options when it comes to borrowing money and other financing deals, critics have warned.

Bob Lamb, the bond commission’s former financial adviser, told State Treasurer John Schroder last year that Louisiana would likely lose money if it put more constraints on the number of banks it was willing to hire.  …

“Our bank list is getting short,” Lamb added. (02/17/23)



Ban the books.

The Arizona Senate has passed a bill that presumably would allow a parent to request that any book containing the words “he” or “she” – or “his” or “hers” – be forever banned from Arizona’s public schools.

No, really.


Senate Bill 1700 is part of the Republican-run Legislature’s ongoing hysteria over the LGBTQ community and our leaders’ weird paranoia that teachers and librarians are secretly plotting to sexualize our children.ither that, or it’s just a crass bid to pad their reelection bona fides as fully engaged, armed-and-at-the-ready culture warriors.


Protect the guns.

Changes in Arizona gun law are making their way through the legislature, affecting things like gun showsguns on school campuses and even suppressors, sometimes called silencers.

Republicans hold the majority in the legislature and changes to gun laws are one of the ways they are using that power. Right now there are bills proposing that parents and guardians should be allowed to carry guns on a school campus if they have a concealed weapons permit, making sound suppressors legal, and taking away city and county authority to set rules for gun shows. …

State Senator Justine Wadsack’s district is mostly in northern Pima County, curving southeast into Vail. She’s proposed a bill to restrict any city or county’s ability to enforce gun laws more strict than state law—including anything that would interfere with a gun show.

We tried to reach Senator Wadsack to discuss her rationale for the bills, and tried to reach other sponsors or co-sponsors but we could not connect Monday. (02/27/23)



Ban the books.

A Republican-driven Senate bill limiting reading materials in school districts and public libraries has passed and is now on its way to the House floor.

Senator Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain, is the author of Senate Bill 397.

He said the intention of the bill is to protect younger generations from reading inappropriate and “pornographic” material. …

The bill doesn’t just outline minors, though.

Anyone over the age of 18 would also have limitations when checking out a book at a public library.

“No print or nonprint material or media in a school district library, charter school library, or public library shall include content that the average person eighteen (18) or older applying contemporary community standards would find has a predominant tendency to appeal to prurient interest in sex,” SB 397 reads. (03/08/23)


Protect the guns.

A bill that would make Oklahoma a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary State’ is now headed to the Senate.

Sen. Warren Hamilton has filed Senate Bill 631.

The bill would prevent any future legislation by the federal government from infringing on the Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans.

“SB 631 states that the gun laws as they exist today are as restrictive as they’re ever going to be, and that they cannot be added to,” Hamilton said. “No governmental agency has the Constitutional authority to restrict magazines, ammunition, modern sporting rifles or AR pistols. This bill is simply a red line that clearly defines the limits of governmental authority regarding our unalienable, God-given, blood-bought, constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.” (02/25/21)



Ban the books.

Local efforts to remove books from school libraries are now moving to a statewide stage during Texas’ 88th legislative session. Lawmakers have filed bills to create uniform standards for which books should be available in public school libraries. One is from State Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, who filed House Bill 900. His legislation is a priority bill for Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, which means it has a better chance of passing.

Patterson said the goal of the bill is to remove sexually explicit material from school libraries. His involvement in this issue began over a year ago in Frisco. …

“We have to step up now to protect our kids,” he said. “And, we’re going to pass a statewide standard for the first time in the state of Texas.” (03/28/23)


Protect the guns.

“The Solution to Gun Violence Isn’t Public Policy” by State Rep. Jared Patterson

We are a nation in crisis. It’s not a gun crisis or even a mental health crisis. It’s a crisis of fatherlessness.

Each time we see such senseless violence unfold as the devastating shooting that made the small town of Uvalde a household name, we cry anew for policy solutions. But almost every such attack boils down not to who can buy what guns where, but instead to the devaluation and destruction of the family — especially the absence of strong fathers. …

As a state legislator, I love a good policy solution. I believe the government’s power should be limited but that it can be used for good. It’s incredibly satisfying when we can simply propose a new law that tidily corrects a previous oversight or misstep.

Of course, few societal challenges are that simple. But the pervasive sickness of sin and depravity that drives troubled young men to violence has a simple solution — though not an easy one. …

Fatherhood has tremendous power for good. It’s time we embrace the responsibility, for all our sakes. (06/16/22)


A bill from Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Plano, would permit election workers to carry firearms when performing electoral duties during early voting or on election day. Critics worried about security concerns at polling sites. (03/21/23)



Ban the books.

Mississippi could ban digital books that state law defines as “sexually oriented,” including books with depictions of “homosexuality” and “lesbianism,” from public and school libraries after a majority in the Mississippi House approved an amended version of Senate Bill No. 2346 on Wednesday.

When the Mississippi Senate passed the bill on Feb. 28, it was six pages long and focused on requiring websites where pornography makes up more than one-third of the content to implement an age-verification system. When the legislation reached the House, its Judiciary B Committee amended it, expanding it to also include bans on “obscene” and “sexually oriented” digital materials in libraries. It does not include physical books.

The bill prohibits public-school libraries for K-12 students and public libraries that serve adults and children alike from contracting with vendors for “digital or online resources” that violate the State’s pre-existing legal definition of “sexually oriented materials.”

The bill points to Mississippi Code Section 97-5-27, which says that “any material is sexually oriented if the material contains representations or descriptions, actual or simulated, of masturbation, sodomy, excretory functions, lewed exhibition of the genitals or female breasts, sadomasochistic abuse (for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification), homosexuality, lesbianism, beastiality, sexual intercourse, or physical contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or the breast or breasts of a female for the purpose of sexual stimulation, gratification or perversion.”

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Rep. Nick Bain, R-Corinth, introduced the amended Senate Bill No. 2346 on the floor Wednesday. He told fellow lawmakers that the goal of the legislation is “to protect minors from sexually illicit materials.” After his explanation, though, Rep. Shanda Yates, I-Jackson, rose to question the bill’s contents.

“Will the gentleman yield?” she said.

“I’m reluctant to,” Bain said. “But I will.” …

Yates pointed him to Section 8 of the bill, noting that it prohibits “sexually oriented” materials from public libraries and, unlike Section 7, which focused on K-12 schools, includes “no age limitation.” …

The chairman assured her that lawmakers would “fix it in conference” to ensure the prohibitions do not apply to adults.

“It is the intent to prohibit or protect children from seeing this,” Bain said. “It is not the intent to outlaw things such as ‘The Scarlet Letter’ or—”

“Ernest Hemingway or ‘The Canterbury Tales’ or ‘Dracula,’ or ‘50 Shades of Grey’?” Yates offered.

Bain noted that the bill’s text additionally defines obscene materials as those without “literary or artistic value.” …

‘Pretty Sure We Just Banned The Bible’

The House previously passed its own bill, House Bill 1341, with most of the same language now in S.B. 2346 on Feb. 2, but that bill died in committee in the Senate on Feb. 28. That bill, whose principal author was House Speaker Philip Gunn, included the same definition of “sexually oriented” materials as the House’s amended S.B. 2346.

Yates spoke with Bain after catching the mistake she and others had made. “I said I’m pretty sure we just banned the Bible,” she recalled. The problem seemed solved when the bill died in the Senate, only to resurface again when the House Judiciary B Committee’s amendment inserted the same language into Senate Bill 2346.

Yates said she believes Bain when he says he will fix issues with the bill in conference, and attributed its flaws to sloppiness.

“I’m totally OK keeping porn away from kids, but the bill we passed does way more than that and that is not what the majority of us who voted for that original bill thought we were doing,” Yates said. (03/09/23)


Protect the guns.

During a recent interview on MidDays with Gerard Gibert, Representative Nick Bain, R-Corinth, noted that leaders within the National Rifle Association (NRA) have warned him of possible hindrances on gun sales nationwide.

According to Bain, the NRA claims that major credit card companies are planning to use commodity codes to block individuals from purchasing guns and ammunition with their products. The House Judicial B Committee chairman sees this measure as an infringement of Second Amendment rights.

Therefore, to prevent the possibility of such occurrences taking place in the Magnolia State, Bain is working with lawmakers within the Judicial B Committee to advance legislation that would outlaw credit card companies from blocking lawful transactions of firearms and accessories. …

“You want to buy some ammo at Walmart or your local mom-and-pop store and the credit card puts a block on it because they don’t want you using their company to buy ammo. We’re going to make that basically illegal. They cannot do that.” (01/30/23)


When I conduct class behind locked gates and locked doors, I do so chiefly and overwhelmingly because of the threat of firearms.

When my students and I regularly practice lockdown drills, we aren’t hiding from books.

We don’t need legislation to curb somebody’s library selection.

It is the guns, and not just underregulated availability of guns:

It is the ultra-right glorification of semi-automatic weapons, and the Christmas card gun photos, and the AR-15 lapel pins.

How asinine can you be?

In your idiocy, you are actually promoting gun violence as a viable solution to the disgruntled and unstable who are absorbing your ill-advised showcasing of weapons.

If you hold a public office and sport an AR-15 lapel pin in place of the American flag, or if you choose to take a holiday family picture in which the whole family is holding weapons, then you are the gasoline on the mass-shooting fire.

And if you are quick to ban books and slow to regulate firearms, then either you are intellectually bereft–which I do not believe– or you are willing to sell out genuine saftey for others, including children, in order to advance your own political career– which I do believe with my whole locked-gate, locked-room, lockdown-drilled, teacher heart.

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