Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review July 26, 2000 / 23 Tamuz, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

The anti-gun bogeyman -- SOME OF YOU may not believe me, but I used to think the National Rifle Association occasionally -- just occasionally -- exhibited a tinge -- just a tinge -- of extremism and stridency.

Don't get me wrong. I've always been a staunch proponent of the 2nd Amendment, but I just didn't understand why the NRA seemed to resist even the most minor restrictions on gun ownership. Who was this bogeyman they feared?

Confession: I now have seen that bogeyman, and he is real. My opinion -- which changed many years ago, but I'm just now getting around to writing about it -- is that it is not the NRA that is extreme, but the anti-gun bogeyman. While we're at it, let me say that I intend to say "anti-gun," rather than gun control because I think it better defines the bogeyman.

Oh, sure, sometimes NRA spokesmen such as Wayne LaPierre may engage in inflammatory rhetoric. Even the venerable gun-advocate Charlton Heston admitted that. Moses was quick to add, though, that aside from his tone, LaPierre was correct in his assertion that President Clinton has been lax in the enforcement of existing gun laws.

The NRA has been ahead of the curve in gauging the bogeyman's true intent. They have known that his ultimate aim is complete private gun confiscation. They have realized that the bogeyman would not be satisfied with reasonable restrictions and would use every incremental conquest against gun rights as fuel to fight for more.

The bogeyman's extremism is demonstrated on a variety of fronts. He demonizes gun supporters as backwater, paramilitary zealots who are a hair-trigger away from armed revolt. He characterizes as evil even the most innocuous and uncontroversial gun-safety programs such as Eddie Eagle, simply because they are sponsored by the NRA. He shamelessly exploits gun tragedies, using each as an opportunity to emasculate gun rights further.

The bogeyman advocates ill-considered policies such as gun buy-backs that make for great photo-ops, but are ludicrous on their face. He chooses to ignore repeated studies showing that these buy-back programs have had no detectable effect on violent crime or on firearm deaths. When Congress fails to enact legislation to suit him, he prevails upon his Constitution-circumventing president to initiate lawsuits against gun manufacturers to bully them into making "voluntary" changes.

He often distorts statistics, such as the number of children who die each day from gunshot wounds, because the facts stubbornly undermine his cause. In his monomania against the weapons themselves, he apparently overlooks the number of lives saved each year because of private gun ownership.

He is a selective advocate of the Bill of Rights, treating the 2nd Amendment as a meaningless aberration. He has convinced himself that the framers intended to confer the right to bear arms only on the militia and not the citizens proper. He must have missed Phyllis Schlafly's column citing framers such as Samuel Adams: "The Constitution shall never be construed ... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."

The New York Times reports that the bogeyman (OK, the Times didn't use that term, but chose "the gun control movement") has begun the most ambitious campaign in its history to raise money, recruit soldiers and build public support for stronger gun laws in preparation for this fall's national elections. Lo and behold, whom might you imagine he is looking to for inspiration in this effort? The NRA, of course. According to the Times, the bogeyman is actually copying the NRA's grass-roots model.

If you ever thought that it was the NRA that was single-issue oriented, be advised that the bogeyman is every bit as focused. In a recent Handgun Control Inc. fund-raising letter, Sarah Brady wrote, "My friend, if you and I truly want a safer America, we cannot allow George W. Bush to be elected president." May I ask, "Safer for whom, Mrs. Brady?"

When judging the NRA, don't confuse their vigilance for paranoia. We should all be so vigilant. The NRA and the bogeyman may be employing similar strategies but they are quite different in substance. The difference is that the NRA wants to protect your rights. The bogeyman wants your weapons.

JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.



07/24/00: The raging culture war
07/19/00: Is Hillary 'Good for the Jews'?
07/17/00: How dare you, George?
07/12/00: Jacoby's raw deal
07/10/00: The perplexities of liberalism
07/05/00: Big Al and big oil
07/03/00: Partial-birth and total death
06/28/00: Some questions for you, Mr. Gore
06/26/00: Supreme Court assaults religious freedom
06/21/00: Waco: We are the jury
06/19/00: "Outrage" just doesn't quite cut it anymore!
06/14/00: Al Gore: Government's best friend
06/12/00: Say goodbye to medical privacy
06/07/00: Elian: Whose hands were tied?
06/05/00: Who, which, what is the real Al Gore?
06/01/00: Legacy-building idea for Clinton
05/30/00: Clinton: Above the law or not?
05/24/00: Not so fast, Hillary
05/22/00: Gore's risky, fear-mongering schemes
05/17/00: Can Bush risk pro-choice running mate?
05/15/00: Right to privacy, Clinton-style
05/10/00: Patrick Kennedy and his suit-happy fiddlers
05/08/00: Don't shoot Eddie Eagle
05/03/00: Congress caves to Clinton, again?
05/01/00: The resurrection of outrage
04/28/00: A picture of Bill Clinton's America
04/19/00: President Clinton: Teaching children responsibility
04/17/00: Elian, Marx and parental rights
04/12/00: Elian, freedom deserve a hearing
04/10/00:The fraying of America
04/05/00: Noonan: End Clintonism now
04/03/00: Bush: On going for the gold
03/29/00: Phantasma-Gore-ia
03/27/00: Treaties, triggers, tobacco and tyrants
03/22/00: Media to Bush: Go left, young man
03/20/00: Stop the insanity
03/15/00: OK Al Gore: Let's go negative
03/13/00: Deifying of the center
03/08/00: The media, the establishment and the people
03/01/00: McCain's coalition-busting daggers in GOP's heart
02/28/00: Bush's silver lining in McMichigan
02/24/00: A conservative firewall, after all
02/22/00: Bush or four more of Clinton-Gore?
02/16/00: Substance trumps process
02/14/00: The campaign finance reform mirage
02/09/00: President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it?
02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina
02/02/00: SDI must fly
01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
01/26/00: The issues gap
01/24/00: GOP: Exit, stage left
01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
01/18/00: Do voters really prefer straight talk?
01/12/00: Media's McCain efforts may backfire
01/10/00: Conservative racism myth
01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics
01/03/00: McMedia?
12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
11/17/99: Trump's tax on freedom
11/15/99: GOP caves again
11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
10/25/99: A matter of freedom
10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
10/04/99: Clinton and his media enablers
09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
09/02/99: Character doesn't matter?
08/30/99: Should we judge?
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on
08/23/99: Should Dubyah start buying soap ... for all that mud?
08/16/99: 'W' stands for 'winner'
08/11/99: The truth about tax cuts
08/09/99: Hillary: Threading the needle
08/04/99: What would you do?
08/02/99: No appeasement for China
07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: Itís the 'moderates', stupid
07/21/99: JFK Jr. and Diana: the pain of privilege
07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clintonís faustian bargain: our justice
07/06/99: The key to Bush's $36 million
06/30/99: Gore: a soda in every fountain
06/28/99: 'Sacred wall' or religious barrier?
06/23/99: GOP must lead in foreign policy
06/21/99: Crumbs of compassion
06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?