10/00 Handgun Control Has No Facts

Surprise! Handgun Control Has No Facts
Larry Pratt

Nothing frustrates and angers the “Gun-Grabbers” more than asking them to put up or shut up, to prove what they say. A case in point: Some ridiculous statements made in a recent Fox Cable TV interview by Brian Morton, Associate Director Of Communications for Handgun Control, Inc.

Trashing some States for supposedly not doing what they could “to protect children from guns,” Morton said: “They have not tried to close the gun show loophole. They allow people to carry concealed weapons in all sorts of public places. They’ve taken away the right of individual cities to sue the gun industry for the damage their products do.”

Well, now. These are new ones. I’ve never heard it charged before that the gun show “loophole” has harmed kids. Ditto, laws that allow folks to carry concealed weapons. So, we interviewed Morton and asked him to put up or shut up. For openers, we asked for the evidence to support his first allegation.

Morton says one “classic example” is that the gun show “loophole” allowed a young girl (Robyn Anderson) to buy some firearms which she then gave to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who used them to murder some of their classmates and a teacher at Columbine High School.

The only problem with this example is that Anderson herself has admitted that even if there had been a private-party background check at the gun show where she bought these firearms she would have passed the check! She would have passed because she: had no criminal convictions; wasn’t a fugitive from justice; had never been adjudicated a mental defective or been in a mental institution; and was never dishonorably discharged from the military.

When asked if Robyn Anderson is the only example he has that gun show “loopholes” harm children, Morton says, testily: “I’m not going to sit here and go incident-by-incident through this with you. You clearly appear to have an angle you’ve latched on to.” He accuses us of looking for “a tangible and explicit thing,” of “seizing on an example of semantics to make a point you want.”

When we continue to press Morton on this issue, he admits, finally: “I don’t know that I could point you to any specific research on that.”

OK. So, we move on to Morton’s charge that children have been harmed by concealed carry laws. We ask, again: Sez who? What is your evidence to support this assertion?

Morton is not pleased by this line of questioning. He says that by asking this we are starting to get into “statistical things” and he sees where we are going. He tries, once more, to dismiss our question as mere “semantics.” But, yes, he says, it is his contention that laws that allow the carrying of concealed weapons have harmed children. Unable to cite any specific evidence to back up his assertion, he refers us to Douglas Wile, head of research at Handgun Control.

When we ask Wile if he knows of any evidence showing that concealed carry laws have harmed children, he says: “Hmmmm, yeah. That’s a good one. I don’t think we know that.” Does he know of any evidence that gun show “loopholes” have harmed children? Noting that this is a “difficult question,” Wile says he “knows of no such data.”

Another thing Morton complained about in his Fox TV interview — as previously noted — was that some States “have taken away the right of individual cities to sue the gun industry for the damage their products do.”

So, we ask: And where does a city get the “right” you assert? He replies: “Home rule, sir.” We ask: But, a State has no “right” to overrule a city? “Yes,” says Morton, “but not when the State does this at the behest of the gun industry.” In other words, for Morton, only the “Gun-Grabbers” have a “right” to influence what a State does but not the “gun industry” and, presumably, those law-abiding citizens who believe in the Second Amendment.

Morton insists that cities have the “right” to sue the gun industry just like cities should be allowed to sue Firestone for selling tires that caused 88 or so people to die because their tires were blowing up. But this analogy is no good. If people sue Firestone and win, it will be because Firestone was negligent and sold a product that was flawed.

Cities that sue the gun industry do so not because certain guns were flawed and blew up when used but because of the way the guns were used. This is a big difference from the Firestone tire situation.

Defending his absurd Firestone analogy, Morton says he doesn’t think tires “are made expressly to kill people.” Well, we say, neither are guns made expressly to kill people. There are a lot of other uses for guns. In fact, studies show that most guns used in self-defense never kill anybody and are never fired.

Morton says: “I kind of find it hard to believe that when the Chinese invented gunpowder years ago they were thinking about plinking cans.” But, he’s probably wrong here, too. The Encyclopedia Britannica says that although black powder is thought to have originated in China, “there is, however, some evidence that the Arabs were the first to develop black powder.”

Morton says, again erroneously: “Guns were made specifically to kill people. Handguns were specifically made to kill people.” We ask: But is all killing bad? Don’t you believe in self-defense? Morton says: “I see no reason to continue this…. I don’t think this is going to have any constructive purpose.” He hangs up the phone.

But, again, Brian Morton is wrong. Our conversation with him has served a very constructive purpose. It has demonstrated, with a vengeance, that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, that he has no facts to back up what he has asserted on national TV.

A footnote: Morton was on Fox TV to talk about his organization’s “report card” which gave “failing grades” to States which, basically, refused to enact the vehemently anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda of Handgun Control, Inc. This “report card” paid no attention at all to the crucial issue of whether States had or had not reduced crime. In fact, this omission was so glaring that Morton’s interviewer asked, incredulously: “But, isn’t the point of gun control laws to lower crime?” Well, yes, said Morton lamely, but the populations of various States are so different that “you can’t exactly compare apples to oranges here.” Despite this diversity, however, Morton and his ilk seek to impose Federal gun control laws on all these “apples and oranges.” What a hypocrite.