Anti-gun activists shoot themselves in the foot

Hypocrisy and double standards have long been standard fare among the ranks of those committed to depriving Americans of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Occasionally, such episodes are so outrageous that even the normally complicit, left-leaning mainstream press cannot ignore them. For example, this year’s most prominent anti-rights hypocrite was surely Rosie O’Donnell, who, after calling for a complete ban on private firearms ownership, approved of her family’s bodyguard’s application to carry a concealed handgun.
In her honor, I propose a new award — the “Rosie” — to be bestowed on the more flagrant examples of hypocrisy among the enemies of the Second Amendment. And though the year is far from over, our cup overfloweth with candidates. With so many from which to choose, I shall give preference to some cases which did not receive much media attention.
Bill Clinton — My first Rosie goes to the president who has done more than any other in history to erode Americans’ gun rights. One might almost grudgingly admire his success in this, were it not for his constant denial that that is what he is doing. Clinton chops away at constitutional rights while insisting he has no desire to interfere with hunters and recreational shooters.
But this year he was caught. Under his watch, his Justice Department told a panel of federal judges that the official position of the Clinton administration is that citizens “are afforded no protections under the Second Amendment,” and therefore, the federal government can lawfully “take guns away from the public” and “restrict ownership of rifles, pistols and shotguns from all people.”
So when Clinton says that he doesn’t want your guns, you can believe him — just like you could when he said he “did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”
Al Gore — Close on Clinton’s heels is his vice president, deserving of his own Rosie. While spewing anti-gun rhetoric at every opportunity, he tries hard to conceal his past record as one of the NRA’s most reliable pro-gun-rights votes in Congress. But even in this, he was merely following in Clinton’s footsteps.
During his 1982 gubernatorial campaign, Clinton said, “I am in support of the NRA position on gun control.” One might be forgiven for concluding Clinton and Gore think that the only good gun is one that’s pointed at a 6-year-old Cuban boy.
Joseph Lieberman — Gore has chosen a like-minded man as his running mate; Lieberman is Gore’s equal in sacrificing his principles for political expediency. While continuing to push for a ban on “assault weapons,” Lieberman, it was recently revealed, was working behind the scenes to get those made by Colt — which are indistinguishable from several other prohibited models — excluded from the blacklist. Why? Colt was headquartered in Connecticut, the state he represented in the Senate. Say it ain’t so, Joe! And here’s your Rosie.
John McCain — After the NRA was instrumental in the 1994 Republican congressional victory, McCain promised the Arizona chapter, “I will never forget what you did for Arizona. You can count on it.” But this year, he promoted legislation that would, as columnist Neal Knox phrased it, “destroy the election capabilities of NRA and other pro-gun groups, such as denying us the right to inform gun owners of a candidate’s gun record during the last two months of a campaign.” McCain has turned out to be as much an enemy of the First Amendment as the Second. Perhaps that deserves two Rosies.
Mark Dayton — Like many politicians, this senatorial candidate likes to straddle controversial issues and appease both sides. But when the issue is constitutional rights, in my book that earns him a Rosie for duplicity. In response to a candidate survey early in the campaign, Dayton stated his position on licensing gun owners: “The Second Amendment says the right of people to bear arms ‘shall not be infringed.’ … This onerous ‘Big Brother’ requirement upon law-abiding citizens would not commensurately enhance the public’s protection.” But in the week before the primary election, Dayton told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he is in favor of licensing all gun owners.
Via e-mail, I asked his campaign to clarify which position he was planning to stand by and got no response. I am reminded of the warning in the Epistle of James: “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
Congress — The Washington, D.C., newspaper “Roll Call” recently told the story of man who was arrested for carrying a concealed handgun into one of the Capitol-complex buildings, not realizing he had left Virginia, where he was legally permitted to carry his weapon, and entered the District of Columbia.
This wouldn’t be a remarkable story, except that “Roll Call” used the occasion to point out that the policy of the Capitol Police is to allow members of Congress and their staff members to carry concealed handguns in the buildings, even though just possessing a handgun in the District is a crime for nearly every one of them. The Capitol Police simply don’t report their collective bosses to the D.C. police. But ordinary citizens? Lock ’em up! Can’t have the riffraff exercising the same privileges as the high and mighty, now, can we?! I wonder if a Rosie will make it past the Capitol metal detectors.
Andrew Cuomo — Mr. Cuomo has been the Clinton administration’s point man on several anti-rights initiatives. He is systematically disarming the poorest citizens, simply because they live in government-subsidized housing, over which he seems to feel he has dictatorial control as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He has also been the attack dog on the government’s traitorous agreement with Smith & Wesson.
But I wonder if it was a S&W pistol that his taxpayer-funded bodyguard has twice carelessly left behind in public places? Don’t worry, Mr. Cuomo: Your Rosie will fit in the holster in its place, and guns are really too dangerous to carry around anyway, or so you keep telling us.
The U.S. Judicial Conference — Never heard of ’em, right? Neither had I, until earlier this year when this organization of federal judges quietly started pressing Congress to allow them to carry concealed handguns in every state in which they might travel (even though they have U.S. Marshals as guards at their beck and call.) That’s fine with me, of course — as soon as every other law-abiding American is granted the same right. This nation was founded with the idea that government officials were not royalty, but fellow citizens with the same rules and laws for all. It’s obvious that members of both the Executive and Legislative branches have forgotten that, and now it seems that some in the Judiciary have, too. And for that, they all deserve a Rosie statuette — in double-standard size.
Million Moms March — The NRA put up $1 million to start a fund to get into every public school a program to teach young children not to touch guns, and challenged the “million moms” to put up $1 each to match it. Despite their claims to be marching for the benefit of children’s safety, the MMM refused to participate, thus revealing that their agenda has precious little to do with actually making children safer and everything to do with the politics of outlawing firearms. Sorry, but that’s only one Rosie for all “million” of you.
Martin Sheen — I’ll let Mr. Sheen stand as symbolic of most of Hollywood in its gun hypocrisy. After a career spent making a fortune by glorifying gun violence (“Badlands,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Trigger Fast,” “Guns of Honor,” “Gunfighter”), this month he stars in a TV commercial sponsored by Sarah Brady’s Handgun Control, Inc., denigrating George W. Bush’s history as a supporter of Second Amendment rights. Too bad he never won an Oscar, Emmy or Golden Globe to display on the mantle next to his new Rosie.
Miscellaneous — I cannot finish without giving a few Honorable Mention Rosies to people who were not really duplicitous, but just plain laughable in their anti-gun efforts:
— New Mexico sculptor Linda Strong, who amputated the hand from a statue she had made of her own son engaging in a water pistol fight, after concluding that the squirt gun was a symbol of violence.
— Tahunanui Kindergarten in Nelson, New Zealand, where the head teacher has instituted a program requiring her 4-year-old students to apply to the school for a license before they can use their fingers to shoot imaginary guns on the playground.
— Cynthia Carter, an Annapolis, MD, alderman, who called for a governmental “buy back”of toy guns, ad for making the manufacture of toy guns a crime. She claimed that God had prompted her to make these proposals.
— Associated Black Charities of Baltimore, which rejected a mural of abolitionist Harriet Tubman because it portrayed her — accurately — as carrying a gun as she led slaves to freedom. “We feel that in the year 2000, it is inappropriate for a piece of artwork depicting guns and violence to be displayed on our wall in Baltimore, which had more than 300 murders last year,” said the group’s executive director, Donna Jones Stanley, a woman who apparently is unable to distinguish murder from self-defense.
Congratulations to all the recipients! I’m sure that next year, you and others will rise to even greater heights of hypocrisy in your battle to expunge that nasty ol’ Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights!

Robert J. Woolley is a staff physician at Boynton Health Service. He welcomes comments to [email protected] Send letters to the editor to [email protected]