JUNE 1999

Tuesday, June 1st, 1999

“The simple-minded will blame guns,” wrote nationally syndicated columnist Mona Charen in THE WASHINGTON TIMES and other newspapers following the tragic April murderous shooting and bombing outrage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. “But until we confront and correct our moral agnosticism,” she concluded,” until parents demand an end to cultural pollution, we will not see an end to the carnage.”
Daytime talk show host and single mother Rosie O’Donnell wants to outlaw all guns and send all gun owners to prison: “I honestly think – and I am not an expert on the amendments – I think the only people in this nation who should be allowed to own guns are police officers,” Miss O’Donnell said on her show after the Littleton, Colorado shootings.
“I don’t care if you want to hunt, I don’t care if you think it’s your right. I say, ‘Sorry.’ It is 1999. We have had enough as a nation. You are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun I think you should go to prison.”
Ms. O’Donnell is the spokeswoman for K-Mart, one of the nation’s largest retailers of firearms and ammunition.
“It is profoundly regrettable that the President has chosen to exploit the horrific premeditated massacre at Littleton to, once again, scapegoat sportsmen, hunters and other law-abiding Americans who use guns for pleasure or personal and family safety,” declared former CNN Crossfire host Patrick J. Buchanan.
“It calls to mind again Mr. Clinton’s effort to divert blame for the massacre in Oklahoma City to conservatives and Republicans who were critical of big government. Those brutal and nihilistic killers in Colorado violated 19 federal and state gun and explosives laws. To suggest that the passage by Congress of a 20th, 21st, or 22nd might have prevented this atrocity is delusional and demagogic.”
Time Warner Chairman Gerald Levin called for an end to the “proliferation of guns” and condemned the politicians he says have used the Littleton, Colorado tragedy to grandstand about the corrosive effects of the media on American values, reported the LOS ANGELES TIMES.
“This is the season of political opportunism,” Levin said in a speech to the Hollywood Radio and Television Society. “I can’t help but think that television is an easy scapegoat. Where is the cry to stop the proliferation of guns?”
The audience, which included hundreds of entertainment industry executives, interrupted Levin’s address with applause.
In Washington, D. C., Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois introduced S. 936, the proposed Children’s Firearm Access Prevention Act.
It would impose criminal penalties of up to one year imprisonment and a $10,000 fine or both on a gun owner who knows or should know that a juvenile could gain access to the gun, and a juvenile does gain access and thereby causes death or injury or exhibits the gun in a public place.
The bill would provide for what Sen. Durbin calls five common sense exceptions:
The adult uses a trigger lock, secure storage box, or other secure storage technique.
The juvenile used the gun in a lawful act of self defense.
The juvenile takes the gun off the person of a law enforcement official.
The owner has no reasonable expectation that juveniles will be on the premises.
The juvenile got the gun as a result of a burglary.
Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, S. 936 has six original cosponsors: Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, John Chafee and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, and Charles Schumer of New York.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, the City Council voted on to file a suit against handgun manufacturers under a legal theory of recovering the costs of gun-related violence.
The Council voted to spend $100,000 on the lawsuit and hire outside counsel, including Cincinnati lawyer Stanley Chesley, who is helping with a similar lawsuit filed by New Orleans, and Jonathan Lowy, a lawyer for Handgun Control, Inc.
The suit alleges that handgun manufacturers “fail to incorporate safety designs to prevent their use by children and other unauthorized users.”
It alleges also that handgun manufacturers, “through their design and marketing efforts, massively distribute in such a manner that makes them readily available for criminal use.”
The cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco also joined in the rush to sue firearms manufacturers for negligence.