The fact is that there are 20,000 gun laws already on the books, 17 of which were violated by the Columbine killers. What would one more law accomplish that the other 20,000 could not? Especially one that would merely mandate background checks on buyers at gun shows? Is there any evidence that these shows are the sites of a significant number of criminal purchases or that such legislation would have any effect on armed crimes?
The Brady Bill has been violated on 250,000 occasions, according to police records, but not a single violator has been punished. Is there any correlation at all between stringent registration laws and low gun deaths? Apparently not. A social scientist named John Lott has just published a study that claims that communities in which citizens are armed have lower incidences of gun violence than communities where guns are relatively absent.
In places where gun violence has actually been reduced, like New York, where the murder rate has been cut by a phenomenal 60 percent, the reason appears to be aggressive police methods, which have come under fire from many of these same liberals who think gun control is the answer. Do the people who hate Chuck Heston adore Rudy Giuliani? Hardly.
I do not intend this as an argument for or against the gun legislation that was proposed and that failed in the wake of Columbine. It is merely a case for sobriety in assessing the issues that make up the dispute. The gun legislation in question may have been worthy or not. The point is that any difference it might make is so insignificant that it could not justify the foam-at-the-mouth response of its proponents or the stigma they have attached to people, like Heston, who disagree with them about it.
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