5/01 GOA Pushing Concealed Carry Legislation

“It is imperative that we allow law-abiding men and women to exercise their constitutional right to defend themselves while they are away from home.” — Senator Bob Smith (R-NH)

By Erich Pratt

It was the day after Christmas, and people were back to work at Edgewater Technology in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

Sandy Javelle, a widower and father of four children, was visiting with fellow employees. He normally worked out of the New Hampshire office, but today he just happened to be in the Wakefield building.

Unfortunately for Sandy, this was the wrong day to be visiting the Wakefield branch.

In another part of the office, Michael McDermott was joking and chatting with a fellow employee. Cool and relaxed, he seemed to be caught up in a festive mood. It was the day after Christmas, after all.

Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) and GOA’ Larry Pratt (on right)

But not everything was right.

“I was having a conversation [with McDermott] and suddenly he was not talking with me,” said a project manager. “So, I walked away.”

Well, McDermott had other things on his mind. Grabbing the black gym bag on his desk, he began his journey to the accounting department — apparently to “discuss” the wages which the IRS was garnishing from his paychecks.

Nicknamed “Mucko,” McDermott is a hulking 42-year old man with shoulder-length hair and a bushy black beard. He looks more like a Civil War veteran than a computer programmer.

The former Navy submariner pulled an AK-47 and a shotgun out of his bag. He also had a pistol tucked inside his waistband.

“Hey,” a startled coworker called out from a nearby office, “where are you going with that?”

McDermott just continued walking, undaunted, until he reached the reception area. It was there that he started firing. For the next seven to eight minutes, McDermott methodically shot several victims. He rarely missed.

People began diving behind desks and barricading themselves behind doors. Calmly, McDermott strode towards the accounting department. He switched to his shotgun and sized up a new target.

It was Sandy Javelle.

A victim of gun control

An Army veteran, Sandy had been trained to stare death in the face. He barricaded several coworkers into a room and went out to meet McDermott.

There was no naivete on Sandy’s part. As an avid sportsman, he was quite familiar with firearms. He even possessed a concealed carry license from the state of New Hampshire.

There was just one problem. He was now in Massachusetts, a state which does not recognize concealed carry permits from its neighboring state.

Sandy quickly approached McDermott and paused at the copy machine. The meeting between the two men lasted only an instant, as McDermott leveled his shotgun and fired into the face of his unarmed victim.

Sandy became the third casualty that day. Four more would die before the shooting ended.

Making gun owners SAFE

It is heart-wrenching to think that last December’s tragedy in Massachusetts could have ended much differently had McDermott chosen to attack the Manchester, New Hampshire office instead.

In Manchester, Mucko would not have been the only one armed. A pistol-packing Sandy Javelle would also have had a gun and could very well have saved several people’s lives.

According to Dr. Gary Kleck, the highly acclaimed criminologist at Florida State University, citizens use firearms to protect themselves while they are away from home up to 500,000 times every year.

That means that decent people use their concealed firearms to thwart criminal attack almost 1,500 times a day. Arguably, that number would be higher if laws did not discourage good people from carrying guns.

It is with this in mind that Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) and Representative John Hostettler (R-IN) have both introduced legislation to allow citizens the right to carry concealed firearms across state lines.

Gun Owners of America is strongly supporting these bills on Capitol Hill.

Michael McDermott (above) shot and killed seven unarmed victims in Wakefield, Massachusetts. One of the victims, Sandy Javelle, was legally permitted to carry in his home state of New Hampshire, but prohibited in Massachusetts.

S. 514 and H.R. 950 are both known as the SAFE Act (Secure Access to Firearms Enhancement). This legislation would require that states grant reciprocity to out-of-state visitors who are also allowed to carry concealed firearms in their home states.

Rep. Hostettler told The Gun Owners that, “People shouldn’t lose their Second Amendment rights just because they cross the state lines. My legislation ensures that those who legally carry concealed firearms will be able to protect themselves while traveling on vacation or while driving to work in another state.”

The right to defend oneself can represent the difference between life and death.

Guns Save Lives

Linda Hasselstrom is a peace-loving woman from South Dakota.

She spent more than a decade agonizing over her decision to carry a gun. But on more than one occasion, Linda has been grateful that she packs heat.

Several years ago, she was traveling out-of-state in a desolate part of Wyoming.

A man played cat-and-mouse with her car for 30 miles, trying to run her off the road. At one point when he pulled his car within two inches of hers, she flashed her pistol at him.

He sped away and disappeared. That was the last she ever saw of him.

Similarly, the Wichita Eagle reported, this past February 9, that a Kansas woman may very well have prevented a rape because she was traveling with a pistol.

A truck driver flashed his lights at her and indicated there was something wrong with the back of her car. She pulled over to the side of the road, got out of her car and walked to the back of her vehicle to inspect the rear tires and lights.

In the meantime, Kevin Thompson parked his truck directly in front of her car, thus blocking her in.

Thompson approached the woman as she was getting back into her car and stuck his foot inside to prevent her from closing the door. He began making sexual advances, but quickly backed off when he saw her pull a pistol out of her pocket and state, “I’ve got a gun.”

She drove away and called authorities who later arrested Thompson.

Carry laws helping to drop crime rates

It is no surprise that, in the state where citizens can freely carry their handguns, people are also enjoying one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

In Vermont, citizens can carry a firearm without getting permission… without paying a fee… or without going through any kind of government-imposed waiting period.

And yet for seven years in a row, Vermont has remained one of the safest states in the union — having twice received the “Safest State Award” from the Morgan Quitno Press, a private agency which compares and analyzes state crime statistics every year.

Likewise, Dr. John Lott, who is a senior research scholar at Yale University, has also shown the powerful benefits of CCW laws, or “Carry a Concealed Weapon” legislation.

In 1996, Lott published a comprehensive national study that found violent crime fell after states made it legal to carry concealed firearms. Specifically, states which passed CCW laws reduced their rate of murder by 8.5%, rape by 5%, aggravated assault by 7% and robbery by 3%.

Smith and Hostettler are hoping that encouraging citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights will only increase these encouraging results.

Constitutional authority for Smith-Hostettler legislation

The Smith-Hostettler bills essentially apply Article IV of the Constitution to concealed firearms.

This provision requires that “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State; And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”

In other words, if states are not willing to recognize another state’s acts (such as concealed carry licenses), then Congress has the authority to pass laws requiring states to recognize the other state’s measures.

Imagine if one or more states refused to recognize driver’s licenses issued in other states (perhaps because those other states were issuing licenses to teenagers under 18). Congress would have authority under Article IV to step in and require all states to recognize driver’s licenses issued within the United States.

After eight years of having a Presidential veto threat in Washington, gun owners are hopeful that sensible pro-gun legislation can be signed into law.

George Bush signed a concealed carry law as governor of Texas. He could get the chance to do so as President, as well.

Random Shots

by Erich Pratt

Federal gun police

The Associated Press reported on April 9 that, “Under President Bush’s new budget, money to hire police officers would be eliminated to pay for more federal prisons, more computers to streamline police work, more border patrol officers and more federal prosecutors to go after gun offenders.”

This could mean trouble for gun owners down the road.

The biggest concern is this: when federal officials start casting the dragnet for “gun offenders,” they could also start capturing innocent Americans who are only “guilty” of committing non-violent, technical gun offenses.

For example, a father who gives a handgun to his adult child living in another state — without going through a gun dealer — would instantly become a federal “gun offender.”

Likewise, a parent who accompanies his minor child to target practice with a handgun would also commit a federal “gun crime,” if the son or daughter did not possess a written note of permission from the parent allowing the child to go shooting.

Gun crime down, media coverage up

A new study released in April found that homicide coverage on the network news increased 473 percent from 1990 to 1998, even though murders actually decreased about 33 percent during the same period.

Vincent Schiraldi is president of the Justice Policy Institute, which is one of three groups involved in the study.

Schiraldi says, “Attention to violent crime in newspapers and on television may have prompted 47 states to pass tougher juvenile crime laws.”

No doubt, many of those crime laws increased the restrictions upon gun owners as well.

Gun toters safer than cops

In a rebuke to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), an internal review board reported on scores of examples of police abuse in March.

What should be of special interest to gun owners is the rate of corruption in the LAPD.

“The LAPD by its own admission perpetrates more violent crimes than do [carry] permit holders in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia combined,” opines columnist Brad Edmonds, who analyzed the results of the study.

The report was forthcoming in admitting to the official corruption by police. Nevertheless, Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of Southern California faulted investigators for minimizing the magnitude of the scandal.

“Police officers framed innocent individuals by planting evidence and committing perjury to gain convictions,” Chemerinsky said.

“Innocent men and women pleaded guilty to crimes they did not commit and were convicted by juries because of the fabricated cases against them. Many individuals were subjected to excessive police force and suffered very serious injuries as a result.”

Government study shoots more holes in Brady Law

Last year, one of the nation’s leading anti-gun medical publications, the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the Brady registration law has failed to reduce murder and suicide rates.

Now a new government study, released in March, is blowing even more holes into the faltering Brady Law.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) found that criminals could easily use fake IDs to evade the background checks required by the Brady Law.

[This, of course, is no surprise to gun owners who have been saying for years that criminals don’t obey the law. It’s just sad that our government had to commission a GAO study to figure this out.]

While only a small number of FBI background checks were generated during the study, researchers found that in the cases where the FBI approved a gun purchase, sixty percent of those sales were delayed.

In other words, the so-called instant check was serving as a de facto waiting period more than half of the time.

Isn’t that what the instant check was supposed to avoid?

California School Shooting Proves Need For Armed Guards In Schools

by Larry Pratt

Shortly after the most recent shooting at a California school, Sarah Brady, the head of Handgun Control, issued a statement trashing Attorney General John Ashcroft because, among other things, he did not take the “gun lobby” to task “for promoting the idea that guns make you safer and that guns are a vital form of protection for America’s families.”

She also said it is “a tragedy” when leaders such as the Attorney General ignore “preventing children’s access to guns.”

But, what is a real tragedy is Brady’s adamant, ignorant and dangerous refusal to acknowledge that, in certain circumstances, guns do make things safer. A case in point, ironically, is the very shooting which prompted Brady’s absurd attack on Attorney General Ashcroft.

According to the New York Times (3/24/2001), it was a man with a gun — a veteran police officer, Richard Agundez, Jr. — who prevented what could have been a mass slaughter at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California.

Because he was armed, Officer Richard Agundez, Jr. prevented what could have been a mass slaughter at the high school in El Cajon, California.

As the Times reports it, Agundez, when he heard shots, “raced out with his weapon drawn and fired at Mr. [Jason] Hoffman five times, wounding him in the mouth and buttocks and apparently hitting and disabling his shotgun.

“Mr. Hoffman turned and ran, but fell about 20 yards away, near his truck. He had a .22-caliber pistol tucked in his waistband, the authorities said, but never fired it.”

In an interview on CBS’ Early Morning program, El Cajon’s Chief of Police James Davis said that if Agundez — a man with a gun — had not been stationed at this high school things would probably have been “a great deal worse.”

Davis praised Agundez because he “reacted immediately by going to the sound of the gun fire.”

Oh, and the alleged shooter, Jason Hoffman, is hardly a “child.” He is six feet, one inch tall and weighs 210 pounds!

So, what this latest school shooting demonstrates is that Sarah Brady is flat wrong!

What this latest school shooting proves is that guns do make things safer. Because in this case kids were safer, and not shot, since the alleged shooter was shot and disabled.

But, neither Brady nor her fellow gun-haters at Handgun Control understand, or care, about the importance of using firearms in defense of innocent human lives.

In a recent interview on WMAL Radio (3/22/2001) in Washington DC — following the shooting in El Cajon, California — I debated Tony Orza, the Legislative Director of Handgun Control.

Seemingly oblivious to the fact that lives had been saved thanks to the quick reaction of Officer Agundez at Granite Hills High, Orza attacked Gun Owners of America because we want, as he put it, “more guns, more people in schools with guns.”

Well, yes! We do want this. We unashamedly thank God that there were “more guns” than just those of the shooter at Granite Hills High. And that one of these guns was in the hands of a veteran cop who used it to quickly stop the alleged shooter and save lives.

Orza also asked at one point, rhetorically: “Do we really want bullets ricocheting around school hallways?”

Well, no, if this can be prevented. But, what is Orza’s alternative?

If the Good Guys are not allowed to have guns in our schools then the only ones who will have them will be the Bad Guys, the shooters, the mass murderers.

Does this make sense? Not at all.

Orza also spoke dismissively of Officer Agundez’s heroic action saying that even though he was armed there were still two teachers and three students injured by the alleged shooter.

But, he ignores the fact that had Officer Agundez not been there and immediately stopped the alleged shooter things would probably have been much worse with many students and teachers murdered.

Orza says there are “a lot of risks when you have a gun.” Well, yes. There are also a lot of risks by just being alive, just getting out of bed in the morning — or staying in it.

But, sad to say, increasingly it seems, the greatest risk in our schools is having none of the Good Guys bearing arms for the defense of innocent students and teachers. This means a policy the result of which is that only the shooters will have guns — a policy that is sheer lunacy.

At one point in my WMAL Radio debate a caller — another anti-gun-nut — said: “Handguns are used for one thing: to kill other people.” Well, some people ought to be killed, people like those who invade our schools and try to murder our students and teachers.

Anti-gun Incumbent Protection Bill Advances

by Michael E. Hammond

Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Russ Feingold (D-WI).

On April 2, the Senate adopted Incumbent Protection legislation, S. 27, which could silence pro-gun advocates. Having passed by a vote of 59-41 in the Senate, the bill now goes to the House of Representatives.

Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) are the primary sponsors of S. 27. The bill would, if enacted, effectively silence Gun Owners of America and other Second Amendment organizations for sixty days prior to an election.

Any attempt by GOA to use TV or radio to inform voters about a congressman’s record within this sixty-day period would potentially be outlawed.

GOA on the Hill

Prior to passage of the Incumbent Protection Bill, GOA, in a strongly worded letter to Senators, explained that support for this legislation would be regarded as an effort by politicians to cover their own moral inadequacies by attempting to restrict the First Amendment rights of others.

In a letter dated March 29, 2001, GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt stated:

[It is no surprise that] Senator [McCain] who shamed the nation with his membership in the Keating 5 [has led] the effort to silence outside criticism of incumbents…. The problem with the American political system is NOT that too much free speech has educated the American people too thoroughly on dangerous legislation which would impact them.

Rather, the problem with the American political system is that politicians who enter $8 million book deals, steal furniture from the government, lie under oath, sell presidential pardons, and date rape federal employees on government property believe they can cover their own indiscretions by taking away the First Amendment rights of others.

Pratt made this letter available to the press and posted it on the GOA website. Most of the media has supported the McCain legislation, primarily because it strengthens its relative power.

This bill essentially gives a “speech monopoly” to the media and to incumbents sixty days before an election. This means even greater power for the Dan Rathers and Peter Jennings of the media world to influence the outcome of elections.

Upcoming shoot-out in the House

The Senate bill now moves to the House, where Republican leaders such as Minority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) have committed to do everything in their power to torpedo the legislation.

GOA is consulting with House leaders to devise strategies to kill the bill.

Currently, GOA is working to convince the House to declare this bill unconstitutional under Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution, which requires that tax-related measures originate in the House, rather than the Senate.

Because S. 27 deals extensively with the receipts and powers of tax-exempt organizations, the bill is almost certainly unconstitutional under this provision.

One big question mark, however, remains regarding President George Bush.

It is unclear how he would act if the Senate bill were sent to him. Bush opposes some of the aspects in S. 27, but he has said he will sign a bill that “improves the system.”

Gagging the speech of pro-gun Americans

One of the greatest concerns about S. 27 is the “gag rule” which was added by Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) as an amendment to section 203 of the bill.

It prohibits tax-exempt groups such as GOA from mentioning an officeholder’s name on television or radio within sixty days of an election or thirty days of a primary.

But there is an even larger problem in the bill.

S. 27 defines “electioneering” so broadly, it would cast much of what GOA does as election-type activity. In doing so, the bill would threaten the tax-exempt status of pro-gun groups like GOA, which are prohibited by law from influencing the outcome of elections. Such activities must be left to a Political Action Committee (PAC).

GOA does not engage in electioneering. And yet, by strong implication, the bill would define much of the work that GOA does in reporting on congressmen’s behavior — outside of the sixty-day ban — as “electioneering.”

This is ludicrous. Only paranoid congressmen could take the right of free speech and turn it into a politically charged word such as “electioneering.” Such efforts are simply a transparent attempt by politicians to eliminate those watchdog groups that frequently criticize their unconstitutional behavior.

There are important questions that neither McCain nor Feingold have answered about their bill, should it become law.

If GOA uses the electronic media to discuss the voting records of candidates outside of the sixty-day period — or if it studies legislation in preparation for an end-of-session crunch — will anti-gun judges use the definition in S. 27 to label these activities as illegal “electioneering”?

Or, put another way, could one expect a future Al Gore or Hillary Clinton administration to go after Second Amendment groups which are “guilty” of electioneering, as defined by the McCain-Feingold bill?

You can bet on it.

Missed opportunities to kill the bill

Tragically, S. 27 could have been easily killed in the Senate had not the Rules Committee Chairman, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, actively discouraged controversial pro-gun amendments which would have upset the mercurial McCain.

Rather, the McConnell strategy was to convince conservatives to vote in favor of outlawing lobbying by groups such as GOA in the hope that the Supreme Court would declare this unconstitutional and would void the entire bill in the process.

McConnell argued that, by poisoning the bill with an obviously unconstitutional amendment, senators would force the Supreme Court to strike down the entire bill.

This is an extremely dangerous strategy, and Senators have put the free speech rights of all Americans in a precarious situation.

More than 20 years ago, many pro-gun folks gave up on legislative attempts to repeal the DC gun ban because we would supposedly “beat it in the courts.”

Well, a quarter of a century later, Second Amendment advocates are still waiting for the courts to strike down the DC ban.

The Supreme Court: our savior?

Freedom-loving Americans should hope that the Supreme Court would declare this “gag rule” unconstitutional.

But the effect of the McConnell strategy is to make the future of GOA and other pro-gun groups contingent upon the Supreme Court. Specifically, gun owners will have to rely almost entirely on such “weak sisters” as swing vote, Sandra Day O’Connor, to do the right thing.

Of course, the lesson learned from the DC gun battle is clear: it is very dangerous to rely on the courts to do the right thing. For this reason, gun owners should work to see that S. 27 is killed in the House, or vetoed if and when it hits the president’s desk.

Otherwise, congressmen will have another weapon with which to club all those pesky watchdog groups, like GOA, that keep advertising their horrid voting records around election time.

Michael E. Hammond is a legislative consultant to Gun Owners of America. Erich Pratt contributed to this article as well.

On Target

by John Velleco

More guns in Schools

Texas state Rep. Suzanna Gratia Hupp has introduced a common-sense measure to protect children in Texas’ schools: let adults carry guns in schools. Rep. Hupp’s measure would allow superintendents and principals in rural parts of Texas to carry concealed firearms, provided the person holds a concealed carry license.

In spite of the fact that virtually all school shootings are stopped only when an adult armed with a gun arrives on the scene, Rep. Hupp’s proposal drew the usual criticisms.

“I don’t think it would be a smart move because you would be giving kids access to guns. I don’t think guns should be in schools at all,” said Kevy Allred, a Texas high school principal.

Perhaps Ms. Allred objects to lives being saved at a Pearl, Miss., high school, where assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieved his handgun from his vehicle and detained a school shooter until the police arrived.

The fate of Rep. Hipp’s bill is uncertain.

Zero Sense in Zero Tolerance

In yet another example in a growing number of ‘Zero Tolerance’ cases, a Pontiac, Mich., third-grade student was suspended for bringing 1 1/2 inch-long gun-shaped medallion to class after finding it outside. Under Zero Tolerance rules, youngsters have faced discipline for drawing pictures of guns, holding their fingers to mimic a gun, and for playing cops and robbers in the playground.

Zero Tolerance policies, which can mandate expulsion or a referral to criminal court, have gotten so ridiculous that the normally anti-gun American Bar Association voted in its February member’s meeting to recommend the end of such policies.

“Zero Tolerance has become a one-size-fits-all solution to all the problems that schools confront…. It has redefined students as criminals, with unfortunate circumstances.”

The ABA is on the right track. Perhaps it can extend such recommendations to ‘zero-sense’ laws such as the gun free school zones act, the misdemeanor gun ban, and other victimless crime gun laws.

Wal-Mart Says ‘NO’ to Gun Ban

Under pressure to stop selling long guns to young adults, a Wal-Mart store in Ramapo, New York, refused to cave in to anti-gun extremism. The controversy swirls around a gun that was legally purchased by an 18-year-old adult.

The 18-year-old’s younger brother sent an email — described as ‘disturbing’ by school officials — to an unnamed recipient, prompting school officials to contact the police, who visited the house and took the gun for “safekeeping.”

Officials from the school district, the police department, and the Town Administration converged on the store to pressure it to voluntarily raise the age limit. Wal-Mart store officials refused the extra-legal request.

Nationally, Wal-Mart says it has no policy for or against guns. In Florida, executives allowed a local store to stop selling guns. The Florida store had been under similar pressure to the New York store.

Help Defend the Second Amendment Every Time You Place a Long Distance Call

Gun Owners of America is in Washington fighting for the Bill of Rights and your Second Amendment freedoms everyday.

And you can help GOA every day as well — or at least as often as you make a long distance phone call.

GOA has partnered with Life Line, one of America’s major long distance telephone providers.

Every long distance call made by a GOA customer of Life Line results in a 10% payment to GOA of each and every long distance call made.

In 2000, Life Line gave GOA nearly $60,000.

Unlike patronizing ATT, Sprint or MCI, patrons of Life Line have none of their moneys filtered to anti-gun candidates.

Life Line offers a variety of plans, including its “Sunday Best” which offers 4.9 cents a minute rates anywhere in the U.S. on Sundays and 6.9 cents a minute the other six days. A monthly service charge applies.

You can help yourself and help GOA by using Life Line. Call the special GOA toll free number at Life Line to find out which plan will work best for you. That number is 1-800-311-2811.

Surprise! Communist Chinese Support U.S. Gun Control

by Larry Pratt

And now — as they used to say on the old “Monty Python” TV show — something completely different. The Information Office of Communist China’s State Council has issued a report — U.S. Human Rights Record 2000 — criticizing human rights in America.

That’s right. The country where Communism has killed an estimated 100 million people, the country whose leader Mao Tse-tung was once listed in the Guinness Book Of Records as history’s greatest mass murderer, is complaining about human rights in our country.

And — surprise! — one of the things the Red Chinese don’t like about our country is that many of our citizens keep and bear arms. In a section about the ways in which our freedoms are supposedly in jeopardy, it is said: “The United States, the only country where carrying a private weapon is a constitutional right, is a society ridden with violence…. The excessive number of privately owned guns has resulted in countless gun-related assaults, resulting in tragedy for many innocent people.”

OK. So, what is there to say about this breath-taking hypocrisy on the part of the Chinese Communists regarding human rights? Well, the first thing is that, ironically — unlike the Liberal gun-grabbers in our country — the Red Chinese at least acknowledge that private America citizens do have a Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms.

But, of course, their report says nothing at all about the fact that as many as 2,500,000 of us, annually, use guns in self-defense to protect our lives, the lives of our family and friends, and our property.

Why was this information omitted?
This report doesn’t say.

So, we contacted the Communist Chinese Embassy in Washington DC to ask why, and other questions. Here’s the way our interview went with Yuan Yuan Zhang, press spokesman for the Red Chinese government:

Q: Is there a constitutional right to keep and bear arms for private citizens in your country?

A: Certainly not.

Q: Is it illegal in your country for private citizens to keep and bear arms?

A: It is not — one has to get a permit to carry weapons. Of course some people carry weapons because of their official duties such as policemen or soldiers.

At this point, Zhang tells how four or five years ago in suburban Peking some private people had guns to shoot pheasants and rabbits. But, “later on the government asked them to surrender their weapons, actually purchased back their weapons,” he says, laughing. “Purchased back”?! Strange phraseology here since the government never owned these guns.

Q: So, why were these guns confiscated by your government?

A: Well, sometimes you had a weapon in your closet and then someone stole it and that may uhhhh, you know, cause some trouble…. Sometimes people just make their own rifles from makeshift shops and turn out some kind of very primitive type of gun.

Q: And what happens if a person does this, if a person has a gun but no government permit?

A: That’s a crime. That’s a big crime.

Q: Does a big crime mean a fine and jail?

A: Yes! It would be dealt with in accordance with the criminal code.

Zhang explains that his government bans the private ownership of guns to ensure “the social tranquility and safety and security of the population.” This is why they “confiscate or buy-back” weapons possessed by private persons.

Q: Why does your report make no mention of the fact that as many as 2,500,000 Americans use guns every year in self-defense?

A: I have a sense we are going to have a very long conversation. I have to go. I have a lunch engagement in three minutes.

Q: Are you aware that millions of Americans use guns in self-defense every year?

A: Yes. I am aware of that. I’ve been in this country for many years. I know people use guns principally to defend themselves. But even very decent citizens who have guns at home may sometimes find that their weapons have been put to, you know, very wrong use — good things in the wrong hands, you know.

Q: And sometimes people in the government who have guns put them to wrong use, too. Did you know that?

A: (After long pause) Of course I know that. Sure.

But, Zhang adds: “We are not challenging the Constitutional right in the U.S. We’re just presenting the basic facts. Yours is the only country in the world that the Constitution allows its citizens to carry guns.”

Q: But, why does your report leave out the basic fact that many, many times more Americans use guns for good things, like self-defense, than use guns for bad things?

A: [Our report] is not intended to be a very, very exhaustive study of gun issues. It is just a short article trying to tell people the human rights situation in the United States. It is not perfect. We may be wrong about this gun-related matter. But we see this as one of the areas in which we think the American peoples’ human rights are in jeopardy because of this excessive ownership of guns.

Q: Are you aware that America won its freedom and independence because, among other things, many of our private citizens had guns? Do you know this?

A: Of course I know that. And you know Chairman Mao’s famous quotation?

Q: Yes. He said that political power comes out of the barrel of a gun.

A: We needed guns to fight back the Japanese invaders. We have 100 million men in our militias with guns.

Q: But, your point about Chairman Mao’s quotation is very interesting. He said what he said when he was a private citizen and not a member of the government, right?

A: Right.

Q: So, under your present laws, Chairman Mao would not have been allowed to have guns!

A: I’m trying to figure out your point.

Mao Tse-Tung favored guns in people’s hands until he took over the Chinese government.

End of interview.

In their book Lethal Laws (Jews For The Preservation Of Firearms Ownership, 1994) — which is about how “gun control” has been the key to genocide in many countries throughout history — authors Jay Simkin, Aaron Zelman and Alan M. Rice note that just as in Nazi Germany “gun control” was the key to Mao Tse-tung’s genocide especially during the so-called “Great Leap Forward” (1957-60). At this time, “the government’s imposition of policies that promoted massive rural starvation plainly depended on its monopoly of armed force.”

Communist China’s first “gun control” law was enacted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on October 22, 1957. Article 9 barred the unauthorized making, purchasing, possession, repair, or use of firearms or ammunition “in contravention of safety provisions.”

On September 2, 1983, the Second Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Sixth National People’s Congress approved a law titled “On Severely Punishing Criminals Who Gravely Endanger Public Security of the Society.” This law stated:

(1) The following criminals who gravely endanger public security of the society may be punished more heavily than the severest punishment currently stipulated in the Criminal Law, and may be punished by the death penalty.

And who might some of these “criminals” be who deserve death? Among those listed in this law: “A person who illegally makes, trades, transports, steals or purloins weapons, ammunition or explosives in a particularly serious way or with serious consequences.”

But, of course, what really endangers the security and freedom of a people is when the only ones who are legally allowed to keep and bear arms are those who work for the State. This way lies true tyranny. We must hope and pray this never happens in America.