Gun Rights Video News

SAF's Alan Gottlieb debate VPC's Josh Sugarman on ESPN


JULY 1999

Thursday, July 1st, 1999

Dennis Henigan of the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, a sister organization of Handgun Control, Inc., “believes that it is imperative to steer the argument about guns away from the problematic area of criminal use, with its inconvenient focus on criminals, and toward the matter of guns in the home – incidents of suicide, accidental shootings, and domestic violence,” reports Peter J. Boyer in his article on ‘Big Guns’ in the May 17 issue of THE NEW YORKER.
“This is an important shift,” Boyer continues, “because it allows the gun issue to be recast as a health issue. Henigan told…lawyers about the many studies that have considered guns in an epidemiological context; in other words, guns should be thought of as pathogens, and gun ownership, perhaps, as a disease.”
Nationally syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, writing on the current gun control controversy in THE WASHINGTON POST and other newspapers, commented that Boyer’s citation of Henigan’s views reveals “what really is at stake…about the shape of gun control after Littleton…
“Democratic politicians are not so candid. On April 27, President Clinton said the kind of people he grew up with in Arkansas believe that ‘every reasonable restriction is just the camel’s nose in the tent’ toward eventual confiscation of weapons. He then sternly cautioned that ‘the culture of hunting and sport shooting’ must ‘stop financing efforts to frighten their members’ into thinking ‘every time we try to save a kid’s life it’s a camel’s nose in the tent.’
“But at a May 5 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Attorney General Janet Reno fostered the camel’s nose theory. Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama asked whether there would be any improvement in sluggish federal prosecutions of weapons violations. ‘I can’t promise you improvement in numbers,’ she responded. Her priority was controlling possession of guns, not their use.”
“My two brothers and I grew up in a home where firearms were commonplace – my dad’s shotguns, the semiautomatic rifles my brothers and I got for our 12th birthdays,” writes Robert Stacy McCain, Assistant National Editor for THE WASHINGTON TIMES.
“The same was true of our friends and neighbors,” he continues. “But none of us became teen-age mass murderers. The idea of amassing an arsenal and going on a murderous rampage never occurred to us.
“Whatever caused the Littleton slayings, logic tells us the cause is something new to American society, a factor that was missing two or three decades ago, when such incidents were unknown.
“It is too vague to say that ‘violence’ is the problem…
“Guns are no more accessible to kids in America today than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Media reports use certain buzzwords – ‘handguns’ or ‘semiautomatic’ – to suggest some special menace in the firearms used by criminals. That is an appeal to ignorance. My brother’s revolver is a handgun. The .22 I got for my 12th birthday is a semiautomatic. The two sawed-off shotguns wielded by the killers at Columbine High School were neither handguns nor semiautomatic.
“Here’s an interesting statistic: 100 percent of crime is committed by criminals. Criminals are people who do not obey laws. Passing more laws will not stop crime.
“Gun-control fanatics demonize their opposition as the ‘gun lobby.’ My brothers and I are not NRA members or any part of any ‘gun lobby.’ We’re just citizens who know a thing or two about firearms and crime, and don’t think gun control is the answer. There are millions of Americans who think the same way. Gun-control laws discourage peaceful, law-abiding citizens from owning firearms.”
“The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher and the other 11 children who died (during the April Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado) must not be in vain,” declared Darrell Scott during a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime in Washington, D. C.
“Their blood cries out for answers.
“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the
murder could only be found in Cain’s heart…
“When something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs, politicians immediately look for a scapegoat…They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that continue to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre.”
Most Coloradoans, even after the Littleton, Colorado tragedy, still support strongly the right to keep and bear arms, according to a survey conducted by the Denver, Colorado ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS. According to it, 75 percent believe that gun ownership is a “basic right of all Americans,” and 65 percent support a shall issue right to carry concealed law.