Clearly, the endtimes are upon us. Republican Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.) and John Thune (S.D.) are offering eyeing the possibility of proposing* friendly amendments to the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).
It's a peculiarly Republican way of playing nice, to be sure: Coburn and Thune are proposing the addition of an amendment promoting interstate concealed carry. From the Democratic perspective, it's sort of like when your cat brings you a dead mouse. Sure, you're grossed out, but maybe the cat meant it as a gesture of friendship—or at least an acknowledgement of your superior position in the pack (pride?).
From Reason's own Dave Weigel, in today's Washington Independent:
"Self-defense with a firearm is a valid and viable method of self-defense and protection," said Gwen Patton, a spokesperson for Pink Pistols. "Imagine that individuals follow you from a place known in the neighborhood as a GLBT gathering place. They follow you to your car, and when you try to open the door, they hold out pipes and yell—'Hey, faggot!' You pull out a concealed weapon that you have a license to carry. They say, 'He's got a gun!' They drop their pipes and run away. No shots were fired, but a beating was just averted."
And a little political handicapping of the strange alliance:
Supporters of concealed carry reciprocity are confident that it would be passed as part of a hate crimes bill, and not become a poison pill that kills the entire package. "Every Republican senator is on the record with a position on hate crimes legislation," said GOProud's [Jimmy] LaSilvia. "If this were to be attached, a vote for the bill could be explained as a vote for concealed carry. Gosh—what would happen when the Family Research Council realized that their people were voting for the 'gay bill.' It would put a bunch of people in a really weird position. It would be fun to watch."
More on gays and Republicans here.
*no amendment has been formally proposed.