You can be sure the mass murder at Virginia Tech will resurrect the dreary old gun-control debate even though Democrats, having been singed in two presidential elections, are more gun-control shy than they used to be.
Let me list some of the ways the gun-control crowd is wrong. First and foremost, it fears and distrusts the people. What the gun-control crowd is saying to you is that even though we've never met, I don't trust you to own a firearm. I'd like to prevent it, but if I can't do that, I want to make it as difficult and as expensive as possible.
Thomas Jefferson observed that no matter what their age or what they called themselves, people always fall into one of two groups. One fears and distrusts the people; the other loves and cherishes the people. I saw this when Florida was debating a statewide concealed-carry law. You should have heard the ridiculous statements some of my colleagues at the newspaper made — in all sincerity.
Why, they said, there will be shootouts on every corner and even in supermarket lines. The law was passed, and, of course, none of their dire predictions came true. It was as if they didn't know anybody except their own narrow clique. Why would anyone think so lowly of his fellow citizens? Well, elitists do, and gun control is on the elitist agenda.
The second thing wrong with the gun-control crowd is that it is amazingly illogical. Take the above example. Criminals routinely carry concealed weapons, whether the law forbids it or not. So the proposed law was not going to affect criminals. The question was, Can honest people carry a concealed weapon? Thankfully, the Florida Legislature said yes.
One congresswoman was railing that if only we still banned 15-round magazines, not as many people would have been killed at Virginia Tech. Again, it's illogical. The operative fact in that shooting, as is usually the case, was that the only person with a gun was the killer. If you want to shoot 60 rounds, you can do it with four 15-round magazines or six 10-round magazines or even 10 six-round magazines. Makes no practical difference at all when the people you are shooting are unarmed.
It was, by the way, a gun-control law that guaranteed all of the killer's victims would be unarmed. The law says that you can't have a firearm on a school campus. Well, as you can see, the killer paid no attention to the law.
The ban on assault weapons, which the Republican-controlled Congress allowed to expire, was a joke. What it banned were cosmetic features, like bayonet lugs or military-style grips. True assault rifles that can be fired on full automatic were already regulated by federal law. What the gun-control crowd apparently didn't realize is that a semiautomatic rifle is a semiautomatic rifle, no matter what it looks like.
Another fallacy of the gun-control crowd is that it says only the police should have firearms, and they can protect you. Oh? Then how did one man kill 32 people? Where were the police? In fact, take every single homicide that occurs in this country. Obviously, in each and every case, the police failed to protect the victim.
That's because, as everyone with a grain of common sense knows, police can't be everywhere, and when you are face to face with a criminal, you're on your own. If the criminal is armed and you aren't, then generally you can kiss your gluteus maximus goodbye.
What could have stopped the killings at Virginia Tech was another gun in the hands of a professor or a student. Unfortunately, they all became new victims of the gun-control crowd.
April 21, 2007
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.
© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.