by Charley Reese
What bugs me most about the gun-control crowd, which now masquerades as the gun-safety crowd, is the blatant, rampant dishonesty.
What they really want to do is ban the private ownership of firearms. The first step in doing that would be to repeal the Second Amendment. If that's what they want, that's the path they should follow.
Instead, like the lying dogs they are, they try different tactics to accomplish the same purpose. They want to hold gun manufacturers liable for the criminal misuse of firearms, for example. Their idea is to make it unprofitable to manufacture firearms.
That proposition is stupid on its face. If the maker of a firearm is to be liable for the criminal misuse of the product, then you would have to hold Ford, General Motors, Chrysler and all of the other automobile manufacturers liable for the criminal misuse of automobiles. All gun manufacturers are federally licensed and distribute their arms to federally licensed wholesalers, who in turn distribute them to federally licensed dealers, all of whom must do background checks on their customers before selling them a firearm.
The truth is that most criminals deal in stolen firearms or in firearms bought out of the backs of automobiles on the street. Gun-control laws do not affect the behavior of criminals — who, by definition, don't obey laws.
Recently, Sen. Edward Kennedy offered an amendment to a liability-insurance bill that would ban "armor-piercing bullets." Now, that might sound reasonable, except that there are no armor-piercing bullets on the civilian market. Sen. Kennedy defined "armor-piercing" as any bullet that would penetrate the vests worn by most cops. That would include practically all rifle ammunition used for hunting.
What the senator didn't say is that the vests worn by cops are not designed to withstand a rifle bullet. They are designed to protect the officer from pistol bullets, since the overwhelming majority of firearms used by criminals are pistols. It's a matter of velocity, not the type of cartridge. The common deer rifle is .30-.30 caliber, about the weakest firearm usable for hunting, yet it has much greater velocity than a .357 Magnum pistol round. Kennedy's amendment would have rendered useless most of the rifles in America.
By the way, the national union of police officers opposed Kennedy's amendment. He apparently pushed the amendment as part of an effort to kill the main bill, which is what happened.
The gun-control crowd also wanted to extend the ban on assault rifles, which is a farce of a law if ever there was one. All this law does is ban certain cosmetic features on weapons, such as a bayonet lug. The fact is that a true assault weapon is one that has a switch that allows the weapon to be fired semiautomatic — one shot with one pull of the trigger — or fully automatic. Every one of those weapons was already regulated by a law passed in the 1930s. Anyone wishing to buy an automatic weapon has to get a special license from the U.S. Treasury Department. Semiautomatics, which fire the same way revolvers fire (one shot per one pull of the trigger), are legal and operate the same without the cosmetic features our brilliant lawmakers banned.
More to the point, study after study has shown that it is a rare, rare event when criminals resort to rifles. Obviously, criminals don't want to be seen walking down the street with a rifle over their shoulder.
Of course, the reason the gun-banners can't be honest is that if they looked at the subject honestly and objectively, they would have to conclude that the private ownership of firearms in America is a blessing. Cars and doctors kill a lot more people than firearms, but nobody wants to ban them.
March 6, 2004
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.
© 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.