Guns in criminal hands

Queens: Shootings show why mothers think we haven't done enough to prevent bloodshed.

May 28, 2000

A COUPLE of weeks ago, the Million Mom March brought fresh attention to he need for sensible gun laws. Too many guns get into the hands of too many bad people, the marchers pointed out, and the gov-ernment should do more to pre-vent that.

Makes complete sense.

Yet the National Rifle Associa-tion and its executive director, Wayne LaPierre, inanely derided the movement. He called the event the Misled Moms March.

There is nothing misleading, though, about the level of gun violence that persists in Baltimore and continues even in cities that have made great strides in reduc-ing homicides and other crimes.

New York City has cut its murder rate dramatically, but last week we were reminded again that we have not done enough to keep guns away from miscreants. Five people died and two others were wounded in a gruesome, execution-style slaying at a fast-food restaurant in a part of Queens not known for violence.

Some of the mothers who marched for change have lost children to gun violence. They proposed mandatory gun locks to protect children and gun licenses to keep better track of these letlial weapons. The mothers know that gun licensing would be an effective law-enforcement tool. Their ideas are worth rational discussion, not ridicule.

The NRA's mantra is that we simply need to enforce existing laws. They're only half right. Of course we need to enforce existing law. But closing the floodgate of weapons that reach criminals is also necessary. Too many mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers have grieved like th relatives of the Queens victims are doing now.

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