from the Congress Action newsletter

Lawmaking Hysteria

by: Kim Weissman
June 6, 1999

Last week, the Senate was stampeded into passing a series of gun control laws before the Congress went on it’s Memorial Day recess. Democrats and the Clinton administration were hysterical that something be done in the wake of the school shootings, so the Senate obliged. Was that something useful, was it Constitutional, did it even make sense? Nobody asked. Nobody cared. They did something.

When the recess ends next week, democrats will demand that the House act in the same frenzy. What’s the rush? Where are the congressional hearings? Where is the reasoned debate? Clinton just decided that violent video games are a source of cultural rot, and he acted swiftly. Without wasting any time, he announced an 18 month study to figure out what, if anything, should be done about video games. That’s an 18 month promise to a population with a ten minute attention span.

Where was the 18 month study of gun control?

Well, as it turns out, that study has already been done, and by no less an authority than the Bill Clinton-Janet Reno Justice Department. It was called "Guns and Crime: Handgun Victimization, Firearm Self-Defense, and Firearm Theft"; the study was done by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and was released to the public – very surreptitiously, of course – on August 12, 1994. And what did that study by the Bill Clinton-Janet Reno Justice Department conclude? Here are some excerpts:

"On average in 1987-92 about 83,000 crime victims per year used a firearm to defend themselves or their property."

"A fifth of the victims defending themselves with a firearm suffered an injury, compared to almost half of those who defended themselves with weapons other than a firearm or who had no weapon." [Guess what? Self defense works.]

And that’s not all. In May 1997, the National Institute of Justice released its study, "Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms". Here are some excerpts from that report:

"Those who had been arrested for nontraffic offenses [i.e.: criminals] were more likely to own firearms."

"…32 percent of surveyed felons had stolen their most recently acquired handgun."

"About 14 million adults (approximately one-third of gun owners) carried firearms for protection at least once during the 12 months preceding NSPOF."

"On the basis of data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data, one would conclude that defensive uses are rare indeed, about 108,000 per year." [although the NIJ terms over a hundred thousand defensive gun uses "rare", even it’s very conservative estimate shows that there were three times as many defensive uses -- 108,000 -- as there were homicides, suicides, and accidental deaths, combined, from firearms – 35,957 in 1995, according to the Centers for Disease Control]

"If the DGU [defensive gun uses] numbers are in the right ballpark, millions of attempted assaults, thefts, and break-ins were foiled by armed citizens during the 12-month period. According to these results, guns are used far more often to defend against crime than to perpetrate crime."

What about the effectiveness of gun control laws? The Government Accounting Office also did a study on the much touted Brady Bill, titled "Gun Control: Implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act". Report GAO/GGD-96-22 was released January 25, 1996:

"Most guns are not used to commit crimes. Further, most crime is not committed with guns."

Of the denials of gun purchases under the Brady Bill, "…48.7 percent, were based on criminal history records. Of the 9,043 criminal history denials, 8,299 (91.8 percent) were for either a felony indictment; a felony arrest (with no final disposition shown, e.g., dismissal, acquittal, or conviction); a felony conviction; or an outstanding felony warrant." [the concept of innocent until proven guilty apparently does not apply where guns are concerned].

"Traffic offenses accounted for…7.6% of the…denials", and "Denials based on administrative or other reasons accounted for 38.9% of the…denials... …the large majority involved application forms sent to the wrong law enforcement agency." [that was over 7000 American citizens who were denied their Constitutional rights because of bureaucratic bungling].

But what are facts, what is logic, when the left-wing totalitarians are on a rampage? Remember soon-to-be President Al Gore, House Speaker Dick Gephardt, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Those dwindling few among us who are concerned about our vanishing freedom are fighting a losing battle.

Freedom in America is a vanishing commodity; the freedom to use our private property as we choose, to defend ourselves as we deem necessary, to raise our children as we see fit, to speak as we choose, to pursue happiness as we deem appropriate; in short, the freedom to be left alone by our government and by the pretentious left-wing extremists who dominate our culture. The left-wing totalitarians have won. They won fair and square.

Sure, they lied continuously; yes, they had the invaluable assistance of the media propaganda ministry. However, the truth has always been available for anyone willing to find it, but few were willing to devote the time. The tools to preserve freedom have always been there for anyone willing to make the effort of using them, but few were willing to do so. It is a victory handed to them by the American people, a people willing, even eager, to surrender their freedom because, as Newt Gingrich once said, "A free society does nothing more difficult than self government." Too difficult, apparently, for late 20th century Americans.

"If danger ever reach us, it must spring up from amongst us. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and its finisher as a nation of free men, we will live through all time, or die by suicide."
-- Abraham Lincoln


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