10/02 Boxer: Guns Are OK For Protecting Me

Barbara Boxer: Guns Are OK For Protecting Me
Larry Pratt

The debate prior to the U.S. Senate voting overwhelmingly (87-6) to let airline pilots carry guns in their cockpits as a last line of defense against hijackers was very interesting. Particularly interesting was the fact that veteran anti-Second Amendment, anti-self-defense, gun-grabber Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was among the 87 Senators favoring this legislation.

Why is this particularly interesting? Because all the last-line-of-defense arguments in favor of pilots being allowed to arm themselves can be made for private individuals being allowed to keep and bear arms.

For example, Boxer put into the record a letter from Duane E. Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association International. In this letter, Woerth said he was “confident” the legislation voted for by Boxer would “add a genuine security enhancement” for airline passengers and crews. Explaining why she was for allowing pilots to arm themselves, Boxer said: “If I could stand before you and assure you that I believe the skies are safe, I would not be supporting this bill. But, I cannot tell you that, sadly.”

Well, now. As I say, the last-line-of-defense argument can also be made for private individuals being allowed to arm themselves. The police cannot always be counted on to arrive on time. Burglar alarms don’t always work. Ditto, dialing 911. So, Boxer also cannot assure us that private individuals are always “safe” if they have only any of these things to rely on. Thus, as a last-line-of-defense, private individuals, to enhance their security, should be allowed to keep and bear arms, either on their persons or in their homes.

At another point in the debate, Boxer said: “We do not have enough air marshals…. The pilots want to have something at their disposal to save the aircraft.” OK. Good point. But, once again, the same thing can be said about private individuals. There are not enough cops, home security systems, or reliable 911 operators. So, millions of private individuals also want “something” — firearms — to, possibly, save their lives and protect their families and property.

Boxer also told how she met with Ellen Saracini whose husband Vic was the pilot of one of the planes hijacked and crashed into World Trade Center Tower Number Two. Boxer says Mrs. Saracini’s husband, not long before he was murdered by terrorists, told her he wished he had “some lethal way,” in the cockpit, to stop a potential terrorist.

Well, amen! I agree. Vic Saracini, and all the other pilots, should have had this option decades ago. But, one more time, millions of law-abiding Americans would also like the “lethal” force option to defend themselves, their family and their property. Yet, Boxer has favored the passage of all sorts of “gun-control” laws which would make this difficult and, in some case, almost impossible.

Boxer says she remembers a reporter asking Ellen Saracini if she thought her husband would have survived if he had had a gun in the cockpit. She replied: “I do not know how it could have been any worse than what happened.” Says Boxer: “I certainly concur with that.”

Again, the same thing can be said about private persons. Might private individuals in the home or on the street be more likely to survive if they are armed when they have reason to believe their lives are threatened by an attacker? Certainly, their being armed could have consequences no worse than if they were not armed in such a situation. Does Boxer “certainly concur” with this? Her record on “gun control” indicates: No way!

Boxer says: “I firmly believe that we should give our Nation’s pilots & flight attendants a fighting chance against terrorists.” Well, again, I agree. But, how about acknowledging the fact that the Second Amendment protects the right of private individuals to keep and bear arms to give them a “fighting chance” against those who threaten their lives?

Another gun-grabber, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), who voted to allow pilots to arm themselves, said, in this debate: “The reality is, if a dangerous person has managed to get on a plane with a weapon or an explosive device, there is one last line of defense: the people on the plane. We need to make sure the last line of defense is a strong line of defense…. firearms can actually give our flight crews a practical advantage over terrorists.” Lieberman called the bill he was about to vote for a “sane, sensible step” to secure our passenger planes.

Again, another “reality” is that, every day, a lot of Americans, sad to say, are also menaced in their homes and on the street by criminals who often threaten their lives. And if those so threatened were allowed to be armed, this would also give them “a practical advantage” in defending their lives. But, does Lieberman defend as “sane” and “sensible” the Second Amendment protection of the right of private persons to keep and bear arms? No, he does not.

Don’t misunderstand me, please. I’m delighted that Boxer, Lieberman and many other anti-Second Amendment, anti-self-defense, gun-grabbers came to their senses — at least briefly — and voted for legislation to allow pilots to arm themselves. But, until they extend this last-line-of-defense argument to private individuals, these folks remain hypocrites on the gun issue.