Buencamino does foreign and political affairs analysis for Action
for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the newspaper Today, 25 September 2004, page 9.
I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize – STEVEN WRIGHT
Last September 14, 2004, America’s National Rifle Association (NRA)
celebrated the return of the right of Americans to own assault weapons.
Its top gun, Wayne La Pierre, spoke for all gun-lovers when he
described the assault weapons ban as “just a meaningless, cosmetic
Wayne accused the antigun lobby of misrepresenting assault weapons as
machine guns. He exposed their lying by pointing out a crucial
difference between assault weapons and machine guns. He explained that
with assault weapons “you have to pull the trigger each time to make it
shoot.” So an assault weapon reinforces the work ethic and builds
character, while a machine gun is the lazy killer’s weapon of choice.
“America didn’t get to be number one by doing things the easy way,”
Wayne could have added.
Wayne was reminded by Jim Lehrer of PBS Newshour that Presidents Ford,
Reagan and Carter supported the assault weapons ban. Wayne replied,
“There was so much misinformation talking about machine guns, weapons
of war, rapid fire. I mean, they probably thought that that’s the type
of gun they were talking about and they weren’t.” In other words,
one was a former football player who played too many times without his
helmet, one had Alzheimer’s disease, and one was Carter.
Wayne claims that in terms of the way they shoot, assault weapons are
no different from any other gun legally available in the American
marketplace. He said, “There’s not one firearm that’s going to be
available that’s more powerful, makes bigger holes, rapid fire, that
shoots any different than any gun that was available a week ago in
terms of the performance characteristics of the gun. ”
Wayne raises a good point. It’s not the way it looks, it’s the
way it shoots. A Smith and Wesson six-shooter is not as stylish as an
UZI-type weapon, and Congress had no business passing a law
banning good taste.
Mae West once asked a gentleman caller, “Is that a pistol in your
pocket or are you just happy to see me?” In Wayne’s world, the proper
response would be, “It’s an UZI and I’ll let you fondle it anyway.”
Wayne’s world is opposed by, among others, the International
Association of Chiefs of Police. The organization claims to represent
16,000 police chiefs, including “elected sheriffs from very, very small
police departments across this country.” Wayne calls them “that
coalition of big city police chiefs” who have “been in favor of every
gun control bill for the last ten years.”
Wayne is worried “they’ll go all the way to a European-style gun law
where honest people basically have lost their right to own a firearm.”
The police coalition counters, “We’re the ones sworn to protect those
communities.” Wayne is like the Philippine National Police whose motto
is, “Those we can’t protect, we arm.”
Wayne says, “We can argue about guns all day. I don’t think it gets you
anywhere.” He prefers to talk about building more prisons and
prosecuting violent felons.
Of course, violent felons would be committing violent crimes with
knives or their bare hands if there were a total gun ban. But that
would be unconstitutional because, as Wayne never tires of repeating,
the Constitution of the United States guarantees the right of its
citizens to bear arms.
Wise guy wimps have argued against the Constitution by claiming wrong
spelling, “It’s bare arms” they say and “it’s where the right to bare
breasts flows from,” or “It’s dyslexia, it’s arm bears” in order to
pacify the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals, all to no avail.
Anyway, the NRA’s favorite bumper sticker is “Guns don’t kill. People
do.” Maybe somebody should take that to heart and strangle Wayne La
Pierre. That way there’s no mistaking what killed him.