The Brady Campaign has asked us to believe the impossible... yet again.
Every January, the gun control group issues a state report card, giving each state a grade on the basis of their gun laws.
But one look at their report card reveals that the grades have nothing to do with how safe people are in the state.
Their report card is somewhat reminiscent of Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland. When Alice doesn't believe the White Queen is 101 years old, she is encouraged by the Queen to spend more time trying to believe the impossible.
"When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day," the Queen smiled. "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Well, the Brady Bunch would have us believe many impossible things. But here are six for starters.
First, the group gives Vermont a grade of D- because, supposedly, the "state's weak laws make it too easy for criminals, the mentally ill and juveniles to get guns."
But this statement is laughable, for crime in Vermont is virtually non- existent. Just last year (2003), Vermont earned the Safest State in the nation award from the Morgan Quitno Press -- a group of statisticians who rank each state according to its safety record.
The Green Mountain State has consistently had one of the lowest crime rates in the nation, as they have earned this "Safest State" award three times in the last ten years.
The real reason the Brady Bunch doesn't like the state of Vermont is because it has relatively few restrictions on firearms. In fact, anyone can carry a gun in the state without first getting a permit or submitting to a government background check.
Which is why the folks at the Brady Campaign also gave Alaska a low grade. The Land of the Midnight Sun is now following in Vermont's footsteps -- having passed a law last year allowing citizens to freely carry firearms without first obtaining government permission.
The Brady Bunch doesn't like this at all. They awarded a D- to Alaska -- the second unbelievable grade -- and sentenced the entire state to the "time-out chair."
No, that's no joke. Their press release says that Alaska was "put in the Time- Out Chair for passing a new law that allows people to carry concealed handguns without even having a permit. Gun violence in the state could increase ...."
Yeah right. A look around the nation shows just the opposite: crime dramatically INCREASES in places that give criminals a safer working environment. Just look at Washington, DC, which has seen its murder rate increase 51 percent after imposing its draconian gun ban in 1976. Meanwhile, the murder rate decreased 36 percent throughout the entire nation during that same 25-year period.
There's a lot of "impossible things to believe" in this Report Card. But very quickly, here's four more.
FBI statistics showed last year that the states which enjoyed the lowest murder rates earned grades of D or D- from the Brady Campaign. New Hampshire, North Dakota and Maine have murder rates that any state or country could only dream about.
But the Brady Bunch suggests that these would not be states where you would want to live, because they are not keeping kids "safe from gun violence."
Again, these states have the lowest murder rates in the country. Doesn't that count for anything?
Finally, the Brady Bunch awarded Maryland one of the highest grades in the nation (an A-), even though they had the second HIGHEST murder rate in the nation.
How can the Brady Campaign give that state an A- with a straight face? The state is not keeping its citizens safe from gun violence -- or any other violence for that matter. But hey, Maryland gets an A-, simply because they have strict gun control laws -- regardless of whether those laws are keeping people safe.
Do you see the irony here?
The White Queen would probably have no problem believing this Report Card, but the rest of us should. It's a sad thing when people try to push fiction as reality. And that is what the Brady Campaign's Report Card is. It's fiction. At least with Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll knew he was writing about make-believe.
Erich Pratt is the Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America.