“There was a time when coming
out strongly for gun control could
help get you elected,” reports PR
Week. “But these days, due either
to a tide of libertarianism or the increasing
strength of the gun lobby,
promising to take guns away from
Americans will get you nothing but
unemployment checks.”
In one of the anti-gun redoubts,
New York City, some members of
the City Council allege criminals
there are turning increasingly to
children’s toy guns as their weapon
of choice. They want their colleagues
to consider banning the sale of
plastic pistols altogether. Under a
current law enacted five years ago,
the city permits the sale of brightly
colored toy guns so long as they are
constructed entirely of transparent
materials. Two council members,
David Weprin of Queens and Albert
Vann of Brooklyn, claim the existing
legislation does not prevent criminals
from “staining” or “taping” the toy
guns black to make them appear
realistic. “I’ve seen some of these
toy guns, and they look awfully real,”
said Dr. William Rogers, co-founder
of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws.
“But when it comes to banning toy
guns that look too real, I don’t know
of any science about that.”
What’s so smart about so-called
“smart guns?” When New Jersey
recently mandated that all handguns
sold in the state incorporate
some form of personalization three
years after the first such model is
introduced, nationally-syndicated
columnist Jacob Sullum had an
incisive reaction. “Revealingly,” he
wrote, “the mandate exempts police
weapons, even though research on
personalized firearms was initially
aimed at stopping criminals from
firing guns grabbed during struggles
with police officers. The exemption
is also odd because one of the
bill’s avowed goals is to prevent
adolescent suicides. ‘What children
have more access to guns than the
children of police officers?’ asked a
lobbyist who fought the mandate.
Legislators must have recognized
that police officers would not want
their lives to depend on batteries,
electronic chips or recognition devices
that could fail in an emergency.
As the Independence Institute’s Dave
Kopel observes, ‘the police will not
put up with a gun that is 99 percent
“While we already have some of
the toughest gun laws in the world,”
United Kingdom Home Secretary
David Blunkett said recently, “there
has been an unacceptable increase
in the flagrant use of guns in crime
across the country. Introducing a
tough minimum sentence will send
a clear message that serious, violent
offending will invariably be dealt with
in the strongest manner.” Officials of
anti-gun Prime Minister Tony Blair’s
government say they will press for a
minimum five-year prison sentence
for anyone caught with a handgun
or automatic firearm, both of which
have been outlawed for years. The
law currently has no minimum sentence
for carrying an illegal weapon,
reports the Associated Press.
Last October, when two alleged
snipers were terrorizing the Washington,
D.C.-Virginia-Maryland area,
police reportedly received 70,000
tips from people regarding what they
considered suspicious activity. Now,
law enforcement officials are sifting
through the 70,000 tips, hoping the
information will lead them to people
who are possessing guns illegally.
Jim Purtillo, Editor of Tripwire, a
Maryland gun rights newsletter and a
CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the
Month Awardee, questions why the
initiative is necessary since arrests
were made in the case. He called it a
“witch hunt.” He said he thinks many
law-abiding people were reported by
their neighbors simply because they
owned firearms. “It’s a terrible allocation
of resources and misplaced
priorities,” he said. “If there were real
criminals that were identified during
the sniper investigation, I’m pretty
sure they were already investigated.”
In Ottawa, Ontario, about 250 angry
Canadian gun owners gathered
New Year’s Day and some burned
licenses to protest a new law requiring
the registration of all firearms,
according to Reuters. The demonstration
was generally peaceful, but
police arrested protest organizer Jim
Turnbull after he brandished part of
a firearm. “I have a fear of jail,” he
said, “but it’s time to stand up for
what I believe is right