'Politically Incorrect'
Gun Defense
By Larry Pratt
© 1999

Well, now. This is news! And good news, too. I mean, how often do you see anybody on national TV actually making sense when they talk about guns?
Right. Hardly ever. But, on ABC's Nov. 3 "Politically Incorrect" program, comedienne Vicki Lawrence and television's Judge Joe Brown had many common sense things to say about owning firearms. Judge Brown was raised in one of the toughest neighborhoods in South Central Los Angeles. He graduated with top honors from UCLA's Law School.
On this program, discussing the most recent workplace shootings in Hawaii by a man who legally owned the guns he used, Lawrence adamantly opposed taking guns away from responsible citizens saying, "You're not gonna ever get them off the streets. You're not gonna get them away from the gangs. You're not gonna do that. So, why are you gonna take them away from me?"
When the host of the show, Bill Maher, disputed the notion that victims of gun crime would have been safer if they had been armed, Brown, said, "Well, let's put it this way. I tell you what. I would have felt a lot better if when (in Hawaii), somebody walked in and said, 'All right, this is going down. I'm going to blow you away,' that somebody else (armed) would have been able to say, 'Well, you know, make my day. I got my stuff. Let's see if it works.' See, that way you're not holding your butt in your hand. You got something else showing."
When another guest on the program suggested that the shooter in Hawaii should have been legally limited to only two guns (instead of the 17 he reportedly owned), Brown said, to applause from the audience, "I mean, what difference does it make? If he had one or two, he could have done the same damage, but if you had your own, you could have stopped it. You want to give Big Brother more authority than he's already got? Goodness!"
When guest Peter Frampton, the rock-and-roll guitarist from England, said it was "ridiculous" to advocate that teachers in our public schools be armed, Brown said, "Tell you what, down in Arkansas a few years ago, some kid went amok with a pistol, and he started shooting the school up. The principal went out, got his .45 out of the trunk, drew down on the kid, he threw the gun down, (and this) stopped the tragedy."
"Now see, I've noticed this," said Brown, "I'll tell you as a criminal court judge, when you've got armed citizens, the crime drops."
What Brown is alluding to -- though his geography is a little off -- is a 1997 shooting in Pearl, Miss., where Luke Woodham shot two students to death and wounded seven others at Pearl High School. During this carnage, Assistant Principal Joel Myrick got a handgun from his truck, blocked the road as Woodham was on his way to kill some other students, and ordered him to the ground at gunpoint until police arrived. Myrick has said he has no doubt Woodham would killed more people if he had not been stopped since he had 36 rounds of ammo in his pocket when he was finally subdued.
Referring to the slaughter at Columbine High in Colorado, Lawrence said, "OK, let's talk about teachers. What if somebody had had a gun at Columbine? Could they not have shot those guys instead of getting on a cell phone? ... I ain't going into a public school unless I'm armed and dangerous."
So, let's hear it for Vicki Lawrence and Judge Joe Brown! -- two of our citizens who are not afraid to defend our Second Amendment rights. And on national TV, too. What a breath of fresh air.
Larry Pratt is executive director of Gun Owners of America, a national grassroots lobbying organization located in Springfield, Va.
By C Shinkawa" < 11-15-99
The terrible shootings in Hawaii, as expected, has brought out the agenda-driven calls for tougher gun laws.
There are a couple of things that were not generally known about this incident.
1. Hawaii already has the toughest gun laws in the nation, requiring every gun owned to be registered.
2. The Hawaii shooter had 17 guns registered to his name, but was denied a permit for an 18th, because a background check turned up the fact that he was involved in a property damage complaint (at Xerox!) subsequent to owning the 17th firearm.
3. The law that prevented him from owning the 18th firearm should have prevented him from owning any firearms at all. Upon the denial of a permit for an 18th firearm, the fact that this applicant already had 17 registered firearms was missed.
I suppose one could say that no tougher laws were needed in this case. The laws already on the books were not enforced. In reality though, would confiscating all 17 of this shooter's firearms prevented this multiple murder from taking place? I don't think so. I think that any individual who would want to own 18 firearms would probably have no problem acquiring firearms, registered or not, legally or not.
We can pass tougher gun laws, and that will make some of us feel good that America will be a safer place. I think we delude ourselves if we think that.
You know, this kind of thing never used to happen. What is it that causes people to "go off" like this now? It seems to me that there has been some sort of fundamental change in the American Culture. The way we think nowadays is different than even a couple of decades ago. What has caused this to happen?
-Cy Shinkawa