Magazine article Insight on the News

Gun Control Still Is Not Thug Control

Magazine article Insight on the News

Gun Control Still Is Not Thug Control

Article excerpt

Now that government pretty well has pinned Big Tobacco to the mat (in the patois of the press), it is mobilizing against the gun lobby (in more media squeak). A dozen cities so far have filed lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, and the feds have gotten with the program -- on the queer reasoning that gun makers should be liable for misuse of the legal product they sell.

That fool's gold is displayed as logic for the public when the real intent of the mounting campaign against firearms is, like that against cigarettes, metapolitical. Which is to say, the crusaders' objectives are so toweringly ideological that tactics are considered less important than the goals. A principal difference between left wing and right is apparent here: Liberals are convinced that ends they deem noble justify any means to reach the mountaintop; conservatives are aware that ends are profoundly shaped by means.

A decision by populists to rely on a politically correct judiciary to achieve what the politicians dare not legislate is a way station on the interstate to authoritarian government. The blue highways of legislation may be slower designedly, but they are far safer to individual liberty. Thus, if the governmental assault against firearms manufacturers is as successful as it has been against the tobacco industry, a free citizenry shortly will be less free. Next: High-fat foods? Booze?

The slaughter at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., was ghastly, and there have been similar awful episodes, with television covering each as luridly as if it were the end of civilization as we know it. But these school shootings are not epidemic or anywhere near, though eagerly invoked by gun-control zealots to ratchet up demands for more regulation.

The potential of a lawsuit against firearms manufacturers, in the very ambitious noggin of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo, would be on behalf of 3 million people who live in public housing where gun violence is constant and the feds say they spend $1 billion a year on security.

Cuomo said that lawsuit will be filed unless gun makers and his apparatchiks gather at the river and hammer out an agreement. Said agreement would include limits on how many weapons can be bought and by whom, better record-keeping and monitoring of safety regulations. It also would have to include presumptive protection for youngsters, such as new technology that permits only owners to fire particular weapons, or "smart guns" -- another leap of faith for a technological answer to a human conundrum. …

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