12/01 For Gun Banners Any Excuse Will Do

For Gun Banners, Any Excuse Will Do
by
Larry Pratt

The anti-gun crowd has never liked the .50 caliber rifle. They have depicted it as a threat to national security because of its destructive power as well as the ease with which the weapon can supposedly fall into the hands of terrorist or extremist groups.

Somehow, it stretches credulity to suggest that a thirty-plus pound gun that is usually fired off a tripod is the sort of thing that Al Capone is going to conceal under his trench coat until he's inside the bank.

In fact, it is just plain impossible to find crimes committed with this gun that starts at $2500 and can top $10,000.

For people who have a mantra about "keeping guns out of the wrong hands," this gun comes out of central casting, according to them, anyway.

Still, there's this nagging fact problem that .50 calibers aren't used in crime. And, let's face it, even if they were, they are constitutionally protected. Or better yet, my ownership of one is constitutionally protected.

Well, the Violence Policy Center's Tom Diaz tried to invent a fact -- since none exist -- to support their cry to ban the "terrible" .50 caliber.

Diaz charged that gun manufacturers are so bloodthirsty that they knowingly sold at least 25 of these tank-stoppers to Usama bin Laden.

That was the kind of thinking that got Illinois candidate for governor, Rep. Rod Blagojevich, to introduce legislation calling for the banning of private possession of .50 calibers.

On closer examination, the Violence Policy Center "fact" about selling these rifles to bin Laden looks a bit different than when spun by the VPC. Turns out the guns were sold to the Mujahadin with State Department approval when the Afghans were fighting off the Soviet invasion over a decade ago. At the time bin Laden was on our side.

David Koresh had a .50 caliber at Waco. At the time of the raid, Koresh was under the mistaken assumption that because he had violated no firearms laws, the BATF would play fair and keep the law. He tried to talk to the BATF rather than shoot it out. His .50 caliber rifle was never fired. But to hear it from the VPC's Tom Diaz, David Koresh's ownership of one of these guns is another "proof" that they need to be banned.

The one thing that is predictable about gun banners is that any excuse, no matter how implausible, will do in the drive to ban guns.

As for me, I wish I had the money to own and fire a .50 caliber. It would sure upset Tom Diaz, and that is almost reason enough to run out and buy one.

And while we're on the subject of terrorism, here's a news item that comes out of left field. At first, I had to read it twice; I wasn't sure I had gotten it right.

The Wildlife Watch in New York issued a frenzied statement calling for the suspension of New York's annual hunting season. Why? Well, it's obvious, at least to the Wildlife Watch.

You see, hunting "is just a wonderful opportunity for someone who would want to do a terrorist act. They don't have to report their whereabouts and can be lurking everywhere. They can lurk in groups."

Perhaps the Wildlife Watch should take a deep breath and chill out lest they convince the world that they see a terrorist under every rock.

I am thankful that some of my friends see a bambi behind every tree, though, and are willing to share with me the results of their animal "terrorism." Does my preference for the roasts make me an unindicted co-conspirator of a terrorist network?