Guns & Elections

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Sniper[MI], Oct 16, 2002.

  1. Howdy,

    That word was E L E C T I O N S, with an L, not an R......LOL!!

    Guns & Elections
    On the trail in Pa.

    By John R. Lott Jr.

    Little has been said about gun control during this campaign. Oh, sure, Gray Davis is running on gun control in California, but in states from Illinois to Michigan to Pennsylvania, where Democrats gubernatorial candidates with strong gun-control records are running, the issue is being played down. Is this a real change of heart or merely a tactical retreat?

    Take Ed Rendell, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania. Rendell has even taken to campaigning at gun clubs in the last few weeks — yet, much as he may try to put his past record behind him, it's hard to hide that he was the first mayor to advocate that cities sue gun manufacturers. Having supported everything from waiting periods to one-gun-a-month rules to what amounts to registration makes the sale that much harder.

    Guns were a particularly rancorous issue during the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Bob Casey charged that "my opponent in the primary [Rendell] is for gun control, is today and has always been for gun control." The Democratic leader of the of the state house of representatives, Bill DeWeese, had a radio ad for Casey saying, "Gun rights will be safer if Casey is elected." The NRA entered the fray with an ad claiming: "Ed Rendell is a big-city politician who believes your guns, not criminals, are the problem."

    Rendell vehemently denied these charges: "The NRA ads are like the Casey ads. They don't tell the truth. There is nothing that I want to do to take a gun away from a hunter or a law-abiding citizen." Gun-control organizations campaigning for Rendell insisted he only wanted "sensible" gun laws. Just recently, Rendell again denied that he was a liberal on gun control.

    Yet, because I have talked with Rendell during less guarded moments, when he was not focused on winning votes for governor, I know that Casey and DeWeese were telling the truth about Rendell's views on guns.

    During 1999, when I was at the University of Chicago law school, lawyers for the city of Philadelphia asked me to participate in a panel on cities suing gun-makers. Rendell had been the first mayor to talk seriously about doing that, and he wanted a session to educate city lawyers about the issue.

    Three-quarters of the panelists (including Rendell) supported Rendell's desire to sue the gun-makers. During the presentations, Rendell said again that he didn't want to take guns away from hunters or law-abiding citizens and that he wanted to use the suits to make gun-makers responsible for the costs that guns impose on cities.

    At the debate, there were several representatives from the Violence Policy Center, a group that has long advocated banning guns and even sponsors the website Rendell warmly greeted the Violence Policy Center people when he arrived and included one of their representatives on the panel, but they noticeably groaned and rolled their eyes when Rendell claimed he didn't want to take away people's guns.

    After the debate, Rendell immediately headed over to the Violence Policy Center people. I wanted to follow up on the discussion, so I tried to catch up with him as he crossed the room. The Violence Policy people were still visibly disturbed by his comments, and Rendell put his arm around one of them, saying, "I just can't say publicly what we want to do — we have to take these things slowly." I was standing right behind Rendell when he said it.

    When Rendell saw me, he angrily turned toward me, asking what I wanted. I said I had hoped we could talk more about the issues raised by the panel. I added that I understood the costs to cities of the bad things that happen with guns, but that I wanted to know why he didn't consider the benefits of defensive gun use and of victims defending themselves. Still quite angry, Rendell said that, as a city prosecutor, he had never seen a defensive gun use, and that as far as he was concerned, he had never heard of a defensive gun use. He said that he didn't believe they occurred.

    I started to offer to provide him with examples, but he told me he didn't need any evidence, and walked away.

    From Rendell's perspective, it's not so hard to see why he views so many gun-control laws as "sensible." After all, suing the gun-makers for the costs guns incur would make sense, if guns only risked lives. It doesn't matter if police can't defend people all the time — if there are no alternatives.

    Or take his proposals for waiting periods, or to limit gun purchases to no more than one gun a month. Unfortunately, there is not one academic study that shows that these policies reduce crime. Instead, evidence indicates that on net, waiting periods increase crime, as they make it more difficult particularly for women to acquire guns to defend themselves against threatened attacks. What the one-gun-a-month rule will do is reduce the number of gun shows and stores in the state by about 20 percent.

    Rendell obviously feels passionately about guns, but lacked the courage to defend his convictions in a state with high gun-ownership rates and over 600,000 holders of concealed-handgun permits. Instead, to cover his goals, he lied.

    — John R. Lott Jr. is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and lives in Swarthmore, Pa.

    NRAJOE YOU TALKIN' TO ME!? Forum Contributor

    The Dems are going to sneak up on us by not mentioning guns or even seeming friendly towards gunowners....then someday...POW, RIGHT IN THE KISSER...our stuff is gone! :( :mad:

  3. taras

    taras Guest

    At least you have choices. During our last federal election the only party that even hinted they were against gun control was the Reform. It was their only selling feature and had they gotten in it pretty much would have been law to go to church 4 times a Sunday, marry our cousins, and have 7 kids by the time you were 20!!!!