This from the Federalist Digest 3-21 for 23 May 2003:
"The Federalist has ruffled a few Leftist feathers with our latest PatriotPetition.US campaign encouraging Congress to reject legislation renewing the 1994 Clinton-Feinstein-Schumer Gun-Control Act. Even some of our readers, who identify themselves as "conservative" but think the central government should restrict the Second Amendment for their safety, are rejecting our challenge to this incremental encroachment on the right of all law-abiding citizens to own semi-automatic rifles for lawful purposes.
For the sake of argument, let's simplify this debate by setting aside the constitutional issue for the moment and asking this question: "How has the 1994 Clinton-Feinstein-Schumer Gun-Control Act made anyone safer?" Criminals in the U.S. (and every country in the world) have access to all manner of small arms, and they don't care if the weapons they're using comport with Feinstein-Schumer or any of the other 23,000 federal, state and local gun restrictions.
Contrary to the notion that such laws increase safety, a substantial body of evidence supports the conclusion that gun restrictions on law-abiding citizens have precisely the opposite effect of their stated intent (the law of unintended consequences). For example, states and cities with the most restrictive gun controls on law-abiding citizens tend to have the highest rates of violent crime, while those with the least restrictive gun control tend to have lower rates of violent crime.
The evidence is similar internationally. In Switzerland, by law, virtually every household must contain at least one fully automatic military "assault weapon," yet Switzerland's gun homicide rate is one of the lowest in the world -- far lower than in the UK, which has the strictest gun-control laws in Europe. Despite the UK's total ban on handguns, you will recall that man in Dunblane, Scotland, who entered a preschool a few years ago and killed sixteen 4- and-5-year old children, their teacher, and then himself. He murdered more victims than those two sociopaths at Columbine, and a total ban on handguns did not stop him. Further, the UK now has the highest crime rate in Europe.
Consider the gun-control issue in this context: Alcohol-related auto wrecks injure and kill far more Americans every year than criminals with guns. Yet Feinstein-Schumer and their Leftist cadre of Chardonnay-tippers are not suggesting a five-day waiting period to buy beer, or demanding six-ounce containers instead of 12-ouncers -- because anyone with a modest degree of common sense knows beer-control would make no difference. (Of note, alcohol and/or drugs are a factor in the vast majority of violent crimes.)
Or consider the incremental encroachment on the Second Amendment in this context: What if Feinstein-Schumer endeavored to encroach on First Amendment rights -- and declared that the indictment of their Socialist vision by e-journals like The Federalist constituted "hate speech" and was, thus, illegal. How would one propose to defend the First Amendment -- or any other -- if they had allowed the emasculation of the Second?
As noted by Justice Joseph Story, appointed to the Supreme Court by the author of our Constitution, James Madison: "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
As for those who would argue that the NRA, and other Second Amendment advocacy groups, are overreacting by suggesting the Left's ultimate objective is gun confiscation, one need only to re-read Ms. Feinstein's declaration after passage of her 1994 legislation: "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate...for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in, I would have done it!"
The Federalist believes President Bush missed a brilliant opportunity to take a stand for the one constitutional right that ensures all the rest. It was a colossal blunder by his Beltway handlers to gamble that this legislation will not pass the House, rather than make a principled stand! Feinstein and Schumer will attempt to engineer a roll-call vote on this issue in the upcoming election year.
Feinstein-Schumer is an affront to the constitutional right of all law-abiding citizens to own semi-automatic rifles for lawful purposes. Please join fellow American Patriots on the front lines in defense of our constitutional liberties calling on Congress to reject renewal of the 1994 Clinton-Feinstein-Schumer Gun-Control Act."
No Gun Ban Petition
For your friends and associates who still don't get it, we are printing some colorful stickers for their front door stating, "This is a gun-free household!"