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Million Mom Madness By: Larry Elder
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, May 22, 2000

ON SUNDAY, MAY 14, as many as 750,000 people, mostly mothers, gathered in Washington, D.C., as part of the Million Mom March. What a tragic collection of emotionally driven, self-righteous, but utterly wrongheaded people.

These "gun-control supporters," as commonly described by the mainstream media, attacked the "gun lobby," demanding, among other things, mandatory safety locks, owner licensing, and handgun registration.

Celebrity Million Mom March organizer Rosie O'Donnell appeared on ABC's This Week With Sam and Cokie. Cokie Roberts asked, "In Washington, we have about the toughest gun laws that there are in the country. And yet we have shootings all the time. At the National Zoo just the other day, a child was shot. What good does it do?"

Incredibly, O'Donnell responded, "Well, there are 200 million guns in America and 20,000 gun laws. But the guns are winning. There are also 20,000 loopholes. There are loopholes for every single law. You know, basically, when you have a lethal weapon, and you have no registration and no license in order to use it, you're looking for chaos, and you're headed towards chaos and that's exactly where we are today." Does Ms. O'Donnell suggest that 200 million anti-gun laws, one for every firearm in the country, would just about do the trick?

First, let's deal with trigger locks and other child access-prevention safety measures.

Yale economist John Lott, author of the book, More Guns, Less Crime, points to not only the benefits of safety locks, but also their costs. Yes, locks may prevent a child's accidental death. But locks also take time to remove, perhaps allowing an intruder that additional bit of time to kill, wound, or maim. According to Lott and John Whitley of the University of Chicago, seventeen states have passed child access-prevention laws. Not only do such laws fail to reduce accidental firearm death and suicide among children, but the researchers estimate that fifteen of those states had a combined total of 3,800 more rapes, 21,000 more burglaries, and almost 50,000 more robberies than they would have had without such laws!

The President says that thirteen children die, per day, from handguns. But 70 percent of these "children" fall between the ages of seventeen and nineteen, the majority of whom were killed in gang-related shootings. More children die each year from bathtub drownings, swimming pool drownings, and fires caused by matches.

What about licensing and registration? Supporters claim that this enables police to track down the owner of a gun used in a crime. Great, assuming the shooter was lawful enough to A) register his handgun, and B) leave it at the crime scene so that authorities might trace it back to him. Not very likely.

Bad guys don't buy guns legally. They steal them or purchase them through the black market.

Furthermore, does Rosie O'Donnell know about the 1968 Supreme Court case Haynes v. the United States? In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot force a felon to license and register a firearm. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution protects one against self-incrimination. The very act of a felon attempting to purchase a handgun is itself a crime.

Thus, a felon forced to sign a licensing form commits an act of self-incrimination. So, licensing and registration becomes, by definition, an action taken only by the already law-abiding, a class of people unlikely to commit crimes in the first place.

A woman who demands further gun-control legislation is like a chicken who roots for Colonel Sanders. Because of the difference in physical strength between men and women, guns provide women with a way to level the playing field. Former Manhattan assistant district attorney David Kopel says, "When a robbery victim does not defend himself, the robber succeeds 88 percent of the time, and the victim is injured 25 percent of the time. When a victim resists with a gun, the robbery success rate falls to 30 percent, and the victim injury rate falls to 17 percent. No other response to a robbery—from drawing a knife to shouting for help, to fleeing—produces such low rates of victim injury and robbery success.… In the 1960s, the Orlando police responded to a rape epidemic by training 2,500 women to use guns. The next year, rape fell 88 percent and burglary by 25 percent."

Obviously, not all women fall into this "guns-are-big-and-ugly-and-make-loud-noises-and-kill-people-so-let's-get-rid -of-them" trap. A group called the Second Amendment Sisters opposes the efforts of the Million Mom Marchers. Another group, Mother's Arms, urges women to take courses on the proper use of firearms for self-defense.

This battle for "common-sense" gun control laws pits emotion and passion against logic and reason. All too often in such a contest, logic loses. So, expect more meaningless, if not harmful, "gun control" legislation. Good news—if you're a crook.


© 2000, Creators Syndicate

Larry Elder is the author of the newly-released Showdown. Larry also wrote The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America. He is a libertarian talk show host, on the air from 3-7 pm Pacific time, on KABC Talkradio in Los Angeles. For more information, visit LarryElder.com.

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