Note: If you live outside the United States, you probably already
live in a country with sensible controls on handguns so you can
read this for amusement or bemusement, as the case may be.
personal rhetoric that has characterized the Clinton years got
real personal when, in the shot heard 'round the Beltway, Wayne
LaPierre, the executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association
(NRA) took dead aim at the President with this startling assertion:
Clinton]'s willing to accept a certain level of killing to further
his political agenda--and the vice president too, I mean, how
else can you explain this dishonesty we get out of the administration.''
then went on to repeat the NRA's current line of attack, which
is that the Administration doesn't enforce the gun laws we already
have and yet it seeks still more.
interests of meeting the NRA and Mr. LaPierre more than halfway,
I am stepping forward with a proposal to strip away the current
welter of confusing gun laws and replace them with a few simple
laws that anyone can understand. Here they are.
citizens may buy all the handguns they want, provided they buy
revolvers. After all, the West was won with the humble six-shooter.
If it was good enough for Wyatt Earp, a noted gun control advocate
in his own day, then it ought to be good enough for you. Of course,
no person with a criminal record would be allowed to buy any weapon
of any kind.
your revolver is used in a negligent or criminal manner that results
in bodily harm to anyone, then you go to jail for 1 to 5 years,
depending on the severity of the offense, with no possibility
all changes of ownership of a handgun. If you break the chain
of documentation, then you go to jail for 1 year. Let's take at
least as much care about tracking the whereabouts of a handgun
as we do about a 1987 Chevy Impala.
your revolver is stolen, then you pay a fine of $1,000. If the
theft is unreported and the revolver is involved in a crime under
rule (2), then in addition to the prison term, a fine of $10,000
will be imposed.
of the process of implementing these changes I would propose a
couple of other modest suggestions:
launch a program to buy back handguns. Pick a major dollar amount
and offer 'no questions asked' turn-ins of handguns. Give incentives
to criminals. So many points taken off from the sentencing guidelines
for each handgun turned in, regardless of where the handgun came
from. (Should your handgun get stolen and turned in, then you
would of course pay a fine under Rule 4 above.)
homeowners' insurance policies to require that handgun owners
prove they are securely storing their handguns. If you don't report
the handgun on your policy, then it voids your homeowners insurance.
does is strip away all the confusing rhetoric and establish some
important principles. First, any law-abiding citizen has a right
to own a handgun for personal protection should they choose to
do so. If you take those lessons the NRA keeps talking about,
6 bullets ought to be enough to deter an intruder. What we don't
need in circulation are those rapid fire, large capacity handguns
that seem to be involved in so many of these rampages by heartsick
teens or disgruntled employees.
with ownership comes responsibility. It is up to you to keep your
handgun from falling into the wrong hands. If you let your kid
take it to school for a little unscheduled show and tell or if
you let your handgun get stolen, the hammer falls.
I can hear
the bleating-heart conservatives reaching for their well-thumbed
copy of the constitution, which no doubt falls open to the 2nd
Amendment. We all know what it says: "A well regulated militia,
being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of
the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
is some other language that you don't hear quoted to often:
the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or
use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches
in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the
preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot
say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and
bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice
that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment
or that its use could contribute to the common defense."
is from a 1939 Supreme Court decision, U.S. versus Miller. This
is the only time the Supreme Court has written anything on the
2nd Amendment. Of course, the Supreme Court could agree to hear
a case on this issue any time it wants, but for now the idea that
there is a Constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms under
the 2nd Amendment remains fiction rather than fact.
those who claim that citizens need unlimited access to weapons
to defend themselves from invasion, this is romantic nonsense
that doesn't stand up to the realities of modern warfare. For
those who doubt this, I commend them to look at photographs of
downtown Grozny. The not-so-well regulated Chechen militia took
on the Russian army. The end result was the near total destruction
of Grozny and most of the surrounding countryside. Those rifles
didn't stand up to well against long-range artillery, air strikes,
to all those gun advocates who are saying, "See, I told you all
they want to do is take away my guns." Well, yeah, actually I
wouldn't mind that one damn bit. But that's not what this is about.
I'm saying buy revolvers rather than pistols. Hell, buy all the
rifles and shotguns you need or want. But let's stop the sale
of high-capacity rapid-fire pistols. And let's make gun owners
responsible if their negligence results in loss of innocent life
or in criminal activities. And let's do something to sop up some
of the millions of handguns floating around our society.
don't think this is all that much to ask for.
© 2000 G.J. Lau All Rights Reserved
toils deep in the bowels of the Washington bureaucracy. A long-time
observer of American politics and mores, he now edits his own
e-zine, Singleminded, which can be found at http://www.singmind.com/singleminded/
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