Penn Jilette and Teller

Monday, August 1st, 2005

Master illusionists and Emmy- nominated Showtime television stars Penn & Teller are the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defenders of the Month for August.
 In nominating the libertarian-leaning duo for the award, CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron noted that, “In these days when most performing artists are jumping on the pro-gun control bandwagon, Penn Jilette and Teller used their monthly Showtime cable television program to air an irreverent look at the impact of misguided gun control laws, concluding that the Second Amendment was written for a reason.  Theirs is a revolutionary idea and one that is not likely to endear them with their Hollywood brethren.”
 Penn & Teller, in addition to their Las Vegas show, host a one hour program with its unprintable name on Showtime, an irreverant look at many of the hotest current events.�
 In the show on Gun Control, the duo first allowed gun control advocates their say – and some interesting comments surfaced.�
 Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York expounded: “We have to do more about guns and weapons.”  Filmmaker Michael Moore of Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9-1-1 fame opined that, “reducing the number of handguns means fewer deaths.”�
 Former Time Magazine columnist Roger Rosenblatt was given several sound bites throughout the program to suggest banning all handguns, if not all guns altogether, with the exception of police officers of course.  Rosenblatt said: “Get an alarm system, call a cop.”  (Apparently Rosenblatt was not aware of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that there is no individual right to police protection.)
 Michael Beard, co-founder  of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, known at one time as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns, and Jim Kessler, policy director for Americans for Gun Safety, both had the opportunity to promote their views, while street gang members were interviewed – in silhouette to protect their identities – about the ease with which guns can be obtained on the streets.
 Having given the other side ample opportunity to state their case, Penn & Teller turn to gun rights advocates to offer a counter, beginning with Founding Father George Washington (OK, it was a Revolutionary War reenactor, not the REAL George Washington) who correctly observed that the Revolutionary War started over an attempt by the government of the time to disarm Colonials.�
 Texas lawmaker Susanna Hupp, who tragically lost her parents in the 1991 shooting at Luby’s Café in Killeen, TX, before that state passed its concealed carry law, wisely stated that, “even people who choose not to get a concealed carry license benefit from the law because of the deterrent effect.”�
 American Enterprise Institute scholar John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime and The Bias Against Guns, chimed in with the results of his research: “You see more drops in violent crime when people are allowed to carry concealed handguns.”  Lott goes on to reinforce Hupp’s statement about the deterrent effect of concealed carry.
 Penn then questions the effectiveness of gun control laws like the Brady Act, noting that criminals somehow always manage to obtain guns, as clearly stated by the gangsta interviewed earlier.  Asking Susanna Hupp about gun free zone laws, she responds: “Gun free zones are the preferred location for mass shootings, where the shooter knows he has nothing to fear from an armed citizen.”
 CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb cut to the bottom line:  “Punish the person who commits the crime.  Don’t punish me, don’t punish the gun.”  He also called attention to the original intent of the Second Amendment: to ensure the people retain the balance of power.�
 Following up on Gottlieb’s comments, Penn brings out  the most important point, “The Second Amendment is there for a reason.  It’s the one that protects all the others.”
 With both sides of the argument aired, in their earthy and direct way, Penn & Teller conclude that gun control laws are… bovine scatology!�
Through their cable television outlet, Penn & Teller have the potential to reach millions of viewers.  Their focus on the truth about gun control and the real import of the Second Amendment offers the viewing public an important lesson in history and civics.�
 For those who have not had the opportunity to see the broadcast version of the program on Showtime, we will try and show the episode during the 2005 Gun Rights Policy Conference, to be conducted in Los Angeles, September 23-25, 2005.