by Timothy Lane 11/17/14
I recently picked this 1995 book by gun rights activist Alan Gottlieb at Half-Price Books, and noticed how similar the sophistry against guns today is to what it was 20 years ago. This takes a part-humorous, part-serious look at the issue, pointing out such issues as extreme liberal hypocrisy (of which there is always an infinite supply) and blatant stupidity. The details have changed since then, but the basics mostly haven’t. Gottlieb adds a number of political cartoons (and even a few comics) that help illuminate the subject, many from familiar conservatives such as Lisa Benson and Chuck Asay, but also more liberal cartoonists such as Bill Mauldin.
His first section looks at liberal hypocrisy by citing several examples of liberals who seek the disarmament of the public – as long as they aren’t included, of course. (So much for the great liberal call for equality. Even the most basic equality –- equality under the law – is beyond them despite all their empty rhetoric.) He starts with an incident in which Teddy Kennedy’s bodyguard was treated very leniently for violating the (admittedly senseless) DC gun laws – and contrasts that with another case that received no such leniency. Similar contrasts continue to happen in DC. He brings up the famous case of Carl Rowan, the militant gun prohibitionist who had no hesitation in using an illegal gun to confront trespassers (and who continued to support disarming the ordinary people after his encounter). There are even examples of a couple of people still active politically – Jay Rockefeller (though he’s about to retire) and Dianne Feinstein.
Gottlieb next looks at examples of stupidity in gun control. One interesting example that I don’t recall hearing much about in recent years (and thus one of the few differences today) involves gun buybacks. Of course, these were always silly, mostly paying people for old (often non-functioning) weapons rather than getting guns used in crimes off the streets. (They did have the potential in many cases of allowing such guns to be disposed of and destroyed, thereby eliminating physical evidence of a crime. This does get mentioned in discussing the subject, though probably not as prominently as it should have been.) Given that the people doing the buybacks are generally liberal, the stupidity of the idea would hardly have deterred them. Perhaps the reason we hardly ever hear of such things today is that the sort of communities where such notions are popular tend not to have the money today to indulge such idiocies.
Incidentally, another stupid idea which has only sprung up in recent years (and thus didn’t get mentioned in this book) is the matter of fakes. Gottlieb has no mention of poptart guns, finger guns, and the like, though toys do come under scrutiny – even imitation rayguns, apparently. Nothing is too absurd for liberals.
Of course, buybacks are hardly the only stupid idea. Gun bans exist in numerous cities; one total ban at the time was in Morton Grove, Illinois (a liberal Chicago suburb). Gottlieb contrasts this with the famous gun mandate in Kennesaw, Georgia, and includes a Benson cartoon in which a criminal flees from a house with “Kennesaw” on its mailbox to the warming, “Next time, y’all try Morton Grove!”
The logic behind these bans and buybacks, of course, is that the real culprit is the gun, not the criminal who uses it. He has a cartoon on that notion as well, in which a policeman arrests (and Mirandizes) a gun while the criminal goes free.
Of course, there are other bad ideas as well, such as waiting periods and registrations. One problem with these is that they require a lot of paperwork, and also require a lot of policemen who deal with paperwork (which never seems to help solve actual crimes, for reasons which liberals seem to have a hard time grasping). They also mean that people who need a gun immediately for self-defense sometimes have to wait too long, often at a very heavy price.
He covers the stupidity further with a final section on gun prohibitionists shooting themselves in the foot. One example of this is that proposed gun bans lead to runs on gun stores, so that the banners are in fact the gun stores’ most effective salesmen. (This remains spectacularly true, with Obama probably even more effective in this role than Bill Clinton was.) And naturally those new purchasers are unlikely to comply with any new registration demands. They’ve seen too many places register guns while promising not to confiscate them – and then change their minds (perhaps with new officials, perhaps not) and use the registrations to get rid of the ones they don’t want. (Usually, this means the peasants are disarmed but the aristos keep their weapons, as do their armed bodyguards.)
There is at least one recognizable error: he refers to Abe Beame as preceding John Lindsay as New York City mayor, when it was actually the other way around. (Lindsay defeated Beame in 1965, but he succeeded Robert Wagner, Jr. Beame won in 1973, and after 4 years of disaster was replaced by Ed Koch.) Still, overall this is a very informative and humorous look at the issue (and especially the hypocrisy and stupidity of the anti-gun movement.)
Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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