The limitless imaginations of the anti-gun movement
February 15, 2009
by Joseph P. Tartaro
The anti-gun apostles are always quick to exploit any scrap of news about violence involving firearms to press their public policy agenda against lawful gun ownership and moral self-defense. Thus, self-defense becomes vigilantism and the presence of a firearm, even by the law-abiding is always seen by the antis as a threat to a world in which good and evil, the victim and the predator, the peaceful and the maniacal will always be neighbors.
When a disturbed underage youth uses a gun to wreak mayhem among fellow students, they ignore all of the laws that already prohibited that culprit from obtaining and possessing a gun, from bringing it to school, from murdering or attempting to commit murder. The kind of gun it was doesn’t matter; to the anti-gunners and anti-self-defense crowd that any gun should be prohibited.
And when they don’t have a newsworthy crime to exploit, they will conjure up imaginary threats to frighten the general public as much as possible.
A recent example involved Eleanor Holmes Norton and her bogeyman concerns about guns and the massive turnout of people for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
According to a late December report by The Hill, a Washington, DC, legislative newspaper, Norton, the District’s non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives, and other anti-gunners were fearful because of the new Interior Department rule allowing concealed firearms in national parks.
The Hill reported that Norton and gun control groups were concerned that some visitors attending Obama’s inauguration might try to pack heat because of a rule allowing concealed weapons in national parks.
The newspaper explained to its readers that the Bush Administration’s change to federal regulations allowed people with permits to carry concealed firearms in national parks if the park falls within a state or district that allows concealed firearms. It properly noted that Washington, DC, does not allow concealed firearms, and thus the rule change would not apply. However, Norton and other anti-gunners imagined that possible confusion over the rule might lead visitors to bring guns to the Jan. 20 inauguration, which was scheduled to be held on two miles of National Park landthe National Mall.
“It is truly frightening to think of what this could mean coming just a couple of weeks before the inauguration,” said Norton, who has long supported strict gun laws in DC and is trying to get the new Administration to rescind the latest regulation allowing licensed concealed carry in some national parks.
The Hill quoted Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America (GOA), saying Norton’s fears are misguided.
“People know enough to check on what the rules are,” Pratt said. “It’s not been a problem in the past and I can’t imagine why all of a sudden it’s going to be a problem on that particular day. It may be a problem for people who don’t like guns, but they have that problem every day.”
Pratt supports a concealed carry law for DC, and said the crime rate would go down if it were allowed. Its “immoral” to deprive residents of guns, he said.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is pushing for Obama to reverse the Bush Administration’s decision on concealed weapons in national parks, and was already in talks with Obama’s transition team at the time the report was written. The Hill observed that if Obama overturned the rule, it would start an early political fight over the perennially sensitive issue of guns. But, of course, that is part of what Helmke and Norton are after, and why they imagine dangers that are so remote.
The Hill reported that even a spokesman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) downplayed any chance that the rule change would lead visitors to bring guns to the inauguration. “It’s been made very, very clear that just as in every other public event held on the Mall, that firearms, as well as alcohol or fireworks are strictly prohibited,” said Kevin Griffis, a spokesman for the PIC.
“On top of that, the tremendous security presence, as well as the expectation for everyone who comes to the Mall to have some level of security screening, I think is going to discourage anyone who might have been thinking about carrying a concealed weapon.”
Despite these reassuring words, however, Brady Center President Paul Helmke still imagined a danger.
“My concern is that there has been some publicity about this whole guns in the parks thing and some of the 4 million people coming in from all over the country (may) think that just because they have a concealed carry permit in their home state, that it gives them the right to come to the nation’s capital and carry (a gun),” Helmke said.
Norton, as might be expected, agreed with Helmke and then confused things even further by pointing to the fact that, since the Supreme Court in June overturned DC’s 32-year ban on firearms in the home for self-defense, the city has been in the throes of rewriting its gun laws. She claimed that has cast much confusion over not only the city’s laws, but also now the National Park regulations.
The Hill noted that Pratt’s organization applauded the revised regulation and he pointed to the murder of two women killed last Spring while camping in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park as a reason why concealed carrying of guns is important for the protection of park frequenters. In fact, GOA was not alone in its support of the change, which had been a high priority item of the National Rifle Association, the Virginia Civil Defense League and just about every other firearms civil rights organization.
The National Park Service deferred comment to the Interior Department and the US Secret Service deferred comment to the National Park Service and the US Park Police, according to The Hill.
Lt. G.W. Davis of the U.S. Park Police told the newspaper the department is still trying to bring all of its officers up to speed with the new rule. “It’s a work in progress,” he said.
And a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) told The Hill the public should not be concerned for their safety because DC does not allow non-law enforcement to carry concealed weapons and therefore the new regulation does not apply to DC.
“For our purposes, it doesn’t change anything yet,” said Traci Huges, a spokeswoman for MPD. “And the only time a person can be carrying a weapon in the District is when they’re traveling from a gun dealer to register the weapon and the weapon cannot be concealed, so they cannot strap it on to their person under their coat.”
The Hill’s story ran three weeks before the inauguration, for which 4 million people more or less streamed onto the Mall and surrounding streets on Jan. 20 with no special mayhem reported, no reports of gunfire, and no reports of a single person being detained because they were discretely carrying a firearm licensed anywhere in the entire country.
Not surpringly, there were no reports in The Hill or any other news medium in DC or the rest of the nation that followed up the imaginative ranting of Norton, Helmke and the rest of the anti-gun community who always find something to fear in any new regulation, law or court decision that might support the Second Amendment in even the slightest way or otherwise assist the good from fighting evil.
The imagination of the anti-gunners helps them to make outlandish claims about their firearms agenda, just as the anti-gun Freedom States Alliance and its Ceasefire NJ affiliate imagine that rationing handgun purchases in New Jersey, or anywhere else, to one a month will somehow make anyone safer or reduce crime. But they imagine their schemes will work and a gullible media passes their propaganda on to an unsuspecting public.
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