Republican State Rep. Jim Lucas of Indiana isn’t sure whether he actually will introduce this ridiculous piece of legislation to fellow state lawmakers. In fact, Lucas says he’s just trying to make a point about gun laws, and he may even be joking about the journalism part.
But pretending to call for the fingerprinting, restriction, and licensing of journalists is one of the worst ways to argue a point, especially when one depends on the same media to get a point across. It’s also a waste of taxpayer–funded time and resources to promote such a clearly unconstitutional piece of legislation—joking or not.
Yet, in the era of Trump–style gaslighting and open warfare on the media by nearly a third of the country’s voters, it isn’t surprising that things have reached this point.
Lucas essentially copied his state’s gun restrictions and applied them to rules for journalists because he isn’t happy with media coverage of his efforts to repeal a handgun permitting law, the Indianapolis Star reported. Among the measures his draft bill calls for are requiring journalists to apply to the Indiana State Police for permission to work, to be fingerprinted, and to pay a licensing fee to the state, among others.
In Lucas’ mind, if these restrictions can be applied to guns, they should also be applied to journalists.
Here’s how he explained it to WRTV6:
Everybody should be appalled. But again, I’m highlighting the licensing of a constitutional right, and you know society has become accustomed to that, to the exact very thing. But if we allow or tolerate the licensing of one constitutional right—even one—that means the floodgates are open for something like this to happen.
According to the Star, Lucas is like a Trump Mini–Me, with a fondness for using social media to make outrageous claims and to stir up controversy involving Trumpian divisive issues. Last June, he was criticized for posting on Facebook a copy of a letter he wrote and then sent to the newspaper asserting that women who carry guns are “learning how not to be a victim of rape,” CBS News reported.
And, of course, the timing of this follows tweets throughout the week in which Trump criticized TV news networks for being “partisan” and “fake” and hollowly threatened to revoke their licenses.
I guess the lesson here is that if the president of the United States can threaten actions that will never happen to rally his base, why can’t a third–rate, nobody of an Indiana lawmaker do it, too?