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1 30th May 06:09
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Default In the end, guns don't kill people...gun lobbyists do.

In the end, guns don't kill people...gun lobbyists do.
America has some grand old traditions: neighbor helping neighbor;
bootstraps; baseball; volunteering; universal education; guns. Guns?
Well, not every grand old tradition is healthy. Take racism. It still
abounds too, but at least the laws against it are reasonably well

Not so with guns. Guns facilitate murder and mayhem, but by golly, no
one's going to take mine away from me. They'll have to pry it from my
cold dead hand...and so forth. Our granddaddies needed them to fight off
Indians, foreign invaders, wild beasts, Yankees, Rebs, rustlers, and
each other. Even the Constitution gives us the right to own them. OK,
so maybe you're supposed to be in the National Guard -- which many say
is the modern equivalent for the "well-regulated militia" that the
Constitution mentions -- but you get the idea.

The trouble is that the years have taken their toll of Indians,
invaders, rustlers, and wild beasts. Most of us no longer feel the
need to pack heat to defend ourselves. But some traditions die hard.
Many folk still fantasize that one day that ubiquitous serial killer
will show up at the door, or an ethnic mob, or the pinkos. They don't
to be caught short.

In practice, however, the real victims of bullets tend to be poor
urban folks, gunned down, either accidentally or with malice, in
moments of emotional heat or criminal chill. New Haven runs about 25
such deaths per year, Cincinnati - 80, Oakland -150, Philadelphia -
400, LA - 450,
New York - 550, etc.

Numbers like these have understandably led to lots of laws. Mostly you
have to have a permit to own or carry a gun, and all guns need to be
registered. That rule should make sure we could track down the owner
of any weapon used in a naughty way. Right? Well, no. A positively
phenomenal number of suspect guns are alleged by their owners to have
been stolen from them. Often long ago. They just never bothered to
report the loss. Why, even former president William Howard Taft had
one purloined from his collection that was later used in 10 murders.

That was back in 1920, but things haven't improved much since. Owners
are shocked...shocked! be told by police that one of their precious
toys has been used in a crime. "Gee, maybe I should have reported that
it was gone!"

Maybe so, but the laws governing that are not uniformly strict. In
California, you have only 48 hours. Some places have no rules at all.
The same goes for ownership controls. New York is strict, but most of
the crimes there feature guns bought or stolen in other states.

Total numbers of available weaponry are a mystery too. Guns, after
all, don't rot. Like enemies, they ac***ulate. One East Windsor,
Conn., couple was lately found to have 88, with thousands of rounds of
ammunition. Luckily, the guy was only a chiropractor. Suppose he'd
been a member of the Taliban? And lest you fear that there might be a
growing weapon shortage, Hoffman's Gun Center in Newington, also in
Connecticut, has a great sale on Smith & Wesson steel pistols with
Melonite slide and barrel and a Zytel polymer frame. Only $400. The
fiber model is a mere $200. Such a deal.

Plainly, the macho, the fearful, and the dealers constitute a potent
lobby. Far from prohibiting handguns, Congress and our General
Assembly can't even pass serious control legislation. Many crooks do
get pinched for gun law violations, but by then it's too late. They
already used them. The sources of this social disaster are the
respectable makers, dealers, and owners who want to fend off any
curtailing of their God-given right.

The common result of this fixation is tragedy. In the end, guns don't
kill people...gun lobbyists do.
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