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Jewish World Review May 8, 2000 /3 Iyar, 5760

Don Feder

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Consumer Reports


Sucker moms want your guns -- REMEMBER THE SOCCER MOMS -- the female, suburban swing voters who helped re-elect Clinton in 1996? They're back, and this time they're after our guns.

Considered the decisive constituency in the last presidential campaign, these middle-class mothers lost their hearts to the president because he was sooo sensitive to women.

The full extent of that empathy was manifested in his second term, with a DNA-stained dress, allegations of groping a female job-seeker, the settlement of a suit with a woman who said he'd exposed himself to her and charges of forcible sex two decades earlier. Call them the sucker moms. Undaunted, the soccer moms have parked their mini-vans and are hoofing it. On Sunday, the Million Mom March -- or at least 100,000 of them -- will descend on Washington to whine for more gun control.

Its demands include a "sensible" cooling off period, background checks, licensing and handgun registration, mandatory gun locks, and limiting purchases to one per month.

"The proliferation of firearms is out of control," organizers intone. "Too many lives are destroyed every day." By rampaging firearms?

Proliferation is a good place to begin dissecting the moms' logic. In 1980, there were roughly 52 million handguns in America and 23,000 homicides. By 1998, the stock of handguns had nearly doubled and the number of homicides declined by one-third. If there is a correlation here, we should be handing out semi-automatics on street corners.

Safety locks are wondrous devices -- unless you actually need a gun, like to save your life. Then, you can call a time-out with the thug who's invaded your domicile to rob, rape or murder you, while you unlock and load your gun. Regrettably, most criminals just aren't that sporting.

John R. Lott Jr., an economist at Yale University, notes that there are no academic studies demonstrating that waiting periods or background checks have any impact on crime. But they do affect the right to self-defense. If a woman is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend, the two weeks she has to wait to get a gun in some jurisdictions may just cost her life.

A limit on gun purchases to one a month? Why not? And, while we're at it, let's also ration the exercise of other constitutionally protected rights -- like political protest. How about one silly march per millennium?

Licensing and registration seem reasonable, at first blush. After all, we register cars and license drivers. But, other than Al Gore, no one is lobbying for the elimination of the internal combustion engine. Most gun-control advocates admit that their goals are first to restrict and limit, then to prohibit.

Britain started with licensing and registration, and progressed to a ban on handguns. Rifles and shotguns are hard to legally possess.

And still, an article in the Jan. 16 London Times reports the rise in crimes committed with guns and decries the existence of an estimated 3 million unregistered firearms. How can that be? I thought criminals and psychos were scrupulous about obeying gun laws.

Gun control impacts only one class -- the law-abiding. Lott reports that in 1960 all federal gun laws combined contained 19,907 words. By 1999, that volume had expanded to 88,413. Show me just one killer, robber or moody loner who was deterred by any of these words.

Gun control laws aren't aimed at criminals. That's the dirty little secret of the Million Moms and other domestic disarmament advocates. Check this out from a flyer advertising the march, "While we acknowledge that guns may be necessary for hunting, law enforcement and national security, the proliferation of firearms is out of control."

Notice what was omitted -- the right to self-defense. The National Center for Policy Analysis says that each year roughly 3,000 criminals are killed and at least 17,000 wounded by armed citizens. There is no way of knowing how many crimes are thwarted merely by brandishing a weapon.

The soccer moms think you don't need a gun, that you'll just hurt yourself if you have one. If someone enters your home to commit a crime, you can call the police, wait for their untimely arrival -- and pray.

Just remember, these are the gals who helped inflict four more years of Clinton on us. Their latest kick should be treated accordingly.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest book is Who's Afraid of the Religious Right. Comment on his column by clicking here.


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© 2000, Creators Syndicate