A letter to the editor of the New York Times, presumably in response to NYT's recent article about unintentional shootings of children (a very deliberately misleading article, by the way) is predictably hysterical in its hand-wringing hatred of private gun ownership in the U.S. Let's hear from Robert Gelman, of Ann Arbor Michigan:
You have performed a necessary service in emphasizing the unnecessary deaths, injuries and destroyed lives based on our country’s gun culture. I have contributed to several gun control groups, but have come to realize that while they do some good, they are basically ineffective, because their goal is gun control.
Hmm . . . are we to understand that Gelman himself does not share the goal of "gun control"? By his definition, yes we are:
Gun control concedes the National Rifle Association’s contention that the Second Amendment gives most Americans an absolute right to own or use guns. This is not true.
He is certainly correct that the Second Amendment "gives" no such right, as this column has discussed repeatedly, including just last week, quoting the Supreme Court's 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller ruling, which in turn cited that court's United States v. Cruikshank ruling, in 1876:
We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.”
Gelman, unfortunately, did not specify when the NRA contended that the Second Amendment "gives" us the right to possess firearms.
So what term does he favor in preference to "gun control"?
I suggest that the phrase “gun control” be replaced with “no guns.”
Indeed, Mr. Gelman, by all means, re-brand the position of forcible citizen disarmament advocates as a demand for "no guns." Boldly acknowledge what the gun ban groups no longer dare admit.
I'm convinced that we have to have federal legislation to build on. We're going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily — given the political realities — going to be very modest. Of course, it's true that politicians will then go home and say, 'This is a great law. The problem is solved.' And it's also true that such statements will tend to defuse the gun-control issue for a time. So then we'll have to strengthen that law, and then again to strengthen that law, and maybe again and again. Right now, though, we'd be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time. My estimate is from seven to ten years. The problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns sold in this country. The second problem is to get them all registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition — except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors — totally illegal.
Tell the Violence Policy Center to stand behind executive director Josh Sugarmann's 1999 position of advocating a total ban on handguns:
A gun-control movement worthy of the name would insist that President Clinton move beyond his proposals for controls -- such as expanding background checks at gun shows and stopping the import of high-capacity magazines -- and immediately call on Congress to pass far-reaching industry regulation like the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act introduced by Senator Robert Torricelli, Democrat of New Jersey, and Representative Patrick Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island. Their measure would give the Treasury Department health and safety authority over the gun industry, and any rational regulator with that authority would ban handguns.
Tell the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence to proudly proclaim that the name change in 1989 from "National Coalition to Ban Handguns" to the current name was motivated not by a loss of interest in banning handguns, but by a new interest in banning so-called "assault weapons," as well:
In that year , the National Coalition to Ban Handguns changed its name to Coalition to Stop Gun Violence to reflect its view that assault rifles, as well as handguns, should be outlawed.
Tell all these groups to acknowledge their affiliation to the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), whether currently or in the past (in fact CSGV's former entry on IANSA's membership list specifically states the group's objective of "a ban on the importation, manufacture, sale and transfer of handguns and assault weapons for civilian use"), whose director at the time demanded a ban of every firearm capable of killing at a range of 100 meters (nearly every firearm ever, in other words):
And that means that no -- civilians should not have sniper rifles, or rifles that they can kill someone at 100 meters distance, for example. There needs to be a much greater degree of proportionality in the firepower that's available.
Tell the world that gun owners are by no means "paranoid."
Oh--one question, though, Mr. Gelman. What about "Only Ones," and other minions of the government? Shall it be "no guns" for them, too, or do you agree with the above-mentioned groups, that "the guys with the guns make the rules," and intend to keep it that way, with a government monopoly on force?