'Reasonable Gun Control' In The United States Is An OxymoronBy Paul Gallant
On July 29, 1999, Mark Barton, armed with 2 handguns, went on a shooting rampage at two Atlanta brokerage firms. When the shooting stopped, 10-people were dead, including Barton from self-inflicted wounds. Thirteen more were wounded. Earlier that morning, Barton bludgeoned his wife and two children to death with a hammer.
On July 31, the Los Angeles Times reported that, "Against the backdrop of the latest horrific killings to transfix the nation, Congress broke a months-long logjam and took a step toward passing gun control legislation before children return to school this fall".
Less than 2 weeks later, Buford Furrow, a neo-Nazi sympathizer "with racist views and a nasty temper", shot up a Los Angeles Jewish community center, wounding 3 children and 2 adults. President Clinton called for the tightening of gun restrictions.
An all-too-familiar story, with a wholly predictable response: new, "reasonable" gun-control laws needed, "for the children".
We are told by Bill Clinton that "every day in America, 13 children are killed by guns". It's virtually the same claim made repeatedly by other politicians, and by groups advocating firearm-prohibition, such as Cease Fire. And the sense of urgency to enact new legislation, calculated to result from such a sound bite, is almost irresistible.
But the claim is bogus. The source cited by Cease Fire is the National Center for Health Statistics. Anyone who bothers to check the figures will quickly find that claims like "13 children are killed each day by guns" are true only if one counts 20-year old armed robbers shot by the police, and 19-year old drug dealers shot by rivals, as "children". For those taken in by the vision of babies, toddlers and pre-teens caught in the crossfire, the scam worked as expected.
If gun-control laws are so "reasonable", why the need to deceive Americans in order to win support for them?
We are told that "reasonable" trigger-lock laws are the cure for firearm accidents and gun thefts. What we are not told is that, in 1994, fatal gun accidents reached the lowest annual level since record-keeping began in 1903. They dropped again in 1995, were lower still in 1996, and even lower in 1997.
In 1997, with an estimated 240 million guns in America, there were 22 fatal gun accidents among children aged up to 5. What we are not told is that 600 children aged up to 5 also drowned that same year. Responsible gun-owning parents seem to have done just fine without mandatory trigger-lock laws.
Trigger-locks won't stop 10-year olds, much less 20-year old "children" or determined criminals. So just who is the target of these "reasonable" gun laws, and what's their real purpose? Why is it "reasonable" to mandate trigger-lock use when there isn't a shred of evidence to suggest they'll perform as billed?
How "reasonable" is it to destroy what's left of our Constitution, for how else could trigger-lock use be enforced, other than by house-to-house searches?
Every year, guns are used to thwart criminal attack 2.5 million times, or more. But every manufacturer of trigger-lock devices warns against using them on a loaded gun. To defend against an attacking intruder requires locating the key for the lock, unlocking the gun, then loading it, all before it can be used in defense of one's family. That's not firearm safety - that's costing lives by removing guns from the realm of self-defense.
Rather than saving lives, could it be that trigger-lock laws are intended, instead, to condition Americans into believing that firearms aren't acceptable for self-defense, or worth the bother?
We are told we need "reasonable" legislation to close the "gun-show loophole" to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. But how "reasonable" is it to pass new laws, when previous ones go ignored and unenforced? Case in point: the Clinton Administration's track record on prosecution for violation of existing firearm laws. Federal prosecution of felons who used guns in the commission of a crime dropped 47% since Bill Clinton took office. Of 6,000 students caught at school with guns in the past 2 years, the administration prosecuted only 13. And during the last 2 years, the administration prosecuted only 11 juveniles for illegal possession of handguns, 11 persons for illegally transferring handguns to juveniles, and 37 persons for illegally providing firearms to felons.
How "reasonable" is it to premise public policy on fraud and deceit? And just how "reasonable" is it to entrust the lives of our families to those who play politics with them, all the while playing the game of victim disarmament?
My dictionary defines "reasonable" as "agreeable to reason or sound judgment". However, "reasonable" has simply become the new mantra of the firearm-prohibitionists, used to intimidate Americans into accepting what is, in fact, UN-reasonable.
The writer is a Wesley Hills optometrist, and is chairman,
Committee for Law-Abiding Gun-Owners, Rockland. (NY)
Reprinted from "Community View", The Journal News, Rockland County, NY, 09/01/1999.