Misled moms go marching to back a flawed gun cause

May 17, 2000|By GREGORY KANE

AMERICAN MEN, gird your loins. The women are trying to do it again.

That may sound sexist, even a bit misogynistic. But facts are facts. And the facts are these.

On Sunday, 750,000 mommies descended on Washington to demand "sensible" gun control laws. The plethora of gun control laws already on the books didn't deter them. High dudgeon against the National Rifle Association -- the dragon to this gaggle of St. Georgettes -- seems to have inspired them. Their clarion call now is for the licensing and registration of all gun owners.

Convinced of the righteousness of their cause, they used their mommy-hood to give them the moral license to try to bludgeon their opposition into submission. Pass these laws, they urged, to protect our children. Pass these laws and our children will finally be safe.

Before lawmakers succumb to such pleas, they had best look at history. Didn't women do this before? Don't we have an example of the consequences of passing laws with even the best intentions? Yes, we do.

In the 1870s, the Women's Christian Temperance Union was formed. Female activists, seeing how excessive drink had led to child and spousal abuse, crusaded to ban the demon alcohol. They got their wish in 1920 with the passage of the Volsted Act. Prohibition became the land's law.

We know the results of the 18th Amendment. Violent crime soared. Organized crime became permanently entrenched in American life, which became so dreadful that the amendment was repealed 13 years later. Mobsters then turned to the illegal narcotics trade, which helped trigger the current drug crisis linked to most of the handgun deaths that so upset the mommies on the mall Sunday.

So it will behoove politicians to think before they act. They should pay particular attention to the specious reasoning that says: Because we license and register cars, we should license and register guns and gun owners.

Listen to the words of President Clinton, who was on hand Sunday to tell the overwhelmingly liberal crowd what it wanted to hear. According to a story by Sun reporter Ellen Gamerman, Mr. Loins of Lust had this to say.

"We license car owners, and we register cars, and we have speed limits, and we have child safety restraint laws, and we have seat belt laws, and you don't hear people talk about car control. When is the last time you heard somebody stand up and give a speech about the imminent evils of car control?"

That's absolute drivel, of course. But the president has an excuse. His horniness has caused a testosterone overload, which has clearly affected his reasoning powers. More pathetic is Mr. Black Leader himself, Jesse L. Jackson Sr., who wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in the Sunday edition of The Sun.

Jackson also used the license-a-car, license-a-gun analogy. He and the president conveniently forget -- or deliberately exclude -- the fact that once a car is registered, the owner has the right to drive it almost anywhere in the United States. Neither Jackson nor Clinton would suggest that once a gun is registered, the owner should have the right to carry it almost anywhere in the country. Once the gun is registered, Jackson, Clinton and the horde of gun controllers would demand that the owner put the gun -- with a lock on it -- in a safe and bury it in the back yard, where curious tykes would be unlikely to find it.

Jackson blundered further by mentioning the April 24 shooting at the National Zoo as an example of the need for gun control. He neglected to tell readers that the nation's capital has the ultimate form of gun control. Handguns are illegal in Washington. The ban didn't stop the miscreant who did the shooting from obtaining a handgun.

It's curious that Jackson, who often finds racism where there is none, didn't mention that the first gun control laws were enacted to prevent blacks from obtaining weapons to defend themselves against racist mob violence. No handgun tragedy today surpasses in scope what happened to defenseless blacks in places such as Rosewood, Fla., and Tulsa, Okla., in the early 1920s. For a latter-day black leader to blindly advocate gun control while ignoring its historical ramifications is tantamount to high treason.

The mommies on the mall also ignored history. Neither they, Jackson nor Clinton realize that while having firearms in society carries certain risks, so does not having them.

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