Calls for additional restrictions following Massachusetts Tragedy are ‘half-baked, half-cocked and all wrong,’ says gun rights leader

Thursday, December 28th, 2000

BOSTON, Mass. – When gun control extremists quickly capitalized on the tragedy in Wakefield, Mass. to call for stricter gun laws in the Bay State, reaction was swift from Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.

“Suggesting that more restrictive gun laws would have somehow prevented this calculated, cold-blooded killing are half-baked, half-cocked and all wrong,” Gottlieb stated. “Massachusetts already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and certainly in the Northeast, yet they did not prevent this terrible tragedy.”

He was responding to statements made within hours of the shooting by American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen and Executive Director Phil Baum. They argued in favor of registration, licensing and “other means of effective enforcement.” Likewise, Democratic Massachusetts State Senator Cheryl Jacques contended such tragedies demonstrate a need for more restrictions.

However, Gottlieb countered that no such law would have stopped the suspect, identified as 42-year old Michael “Mucko” McDermott, because until the shooting, he had no criminal record. Citing media reports about the suspect, he noted that McDermott’s firearms permit had expired.

“The existing law didn’t stop him,” Gottlieb argued, “same as gun laws, not to mention laws against murder, have consistently not stopped other mass killers. There were far fewer restrictions on firearm ownership 25 years ago yet we didn’t see cases like this. Restrictive gun laws, however, have increasingly prevented law-abiding citizens from defending themselves in such situations, leaving them helpless in the face of imminent and unavoidable harm.”

Citing tragedies in Killeen, Tex., St. Louis, Mo., Edmond, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. as examples, Gottlieb said a strong argument exists for concealed carry by law-abiding citizens to defend themselves in such situations.

“The press never talks about tragedies that were averted, or brought to an end, by the intervention of a legally-armed private citizen,” Gottlieb said. “Nobody hears the true story of the school administrator in Pearl, Miss. who stopped a rampaging schoolyard shooter. Sure, the press reports said the youth was ‘stopped’ by Joel Myrick, but there’s no mention that Myrick used his legally-owned handgun to detain that kid until police arrived.

“And you don’t hear about the diner at a restaurant in Anniston, Ala. who used his legally-concealed handgun to stop a restaurant robbery that was about to become a massacre,” Gottlieb continued, “nor is there much mention of the armed citizen who apprehended the suspect in a school-related shooting in Edinboro, Pa. Indeed, there seems to be a politically-motivated news ‘blackout’ on such incidents because they demonstrate the benefit of legally armed citizens.”

Calling the demand for tougher gun laws a “shameless exploitation of a horrible tragedy,” Gottlieb concluded, “Suggesting that such a terrible crime could be averted by making people less able to defend themselves, thus more vulnerable to criminal violence is intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible.”

The Second Amendment Foundation is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. SAF previously has funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles, New Haven, CT, and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners. Current projects include a damage action lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers, an amicus brief in support of the Emerson case holding that the Second Amendment is an individual right and a lawsuit against the Clinton gun and magazine ban.