For the second time in two weeks, a criminal thug steals weapons from a cop and then goes on a shooting rampage.

First there was Brian Nichols who, after stealing a gun from a deputy in an Atlanta court house, killed four people.

Then, a 16-year-old teenager in Minnesota stole guns from his grandfather -- who was a cop -- and used one of the weapons to kill several students and adults at a Minnesota high school.

Although the guns in question were stolen from the police in both cases, the gun control lobby still insists upon punishing law- abiding Americans -- even though gun control would have done nothing to keep guns out of the bad guys’ hands.

The gun control lobby (or the Brady Bunch as they’re affectionately referred to) has been blinded by their own dogma and is guilty of “shooting themselves” in the foot.

The simple fact is: even if the Brady Bunch were successful in disarming the entire nation and turning us into a larger version of Washington, DC, bad guys would continue to get guns. They could buy them on the black market or steal them -- amazingly enough -- even from the police!

Nevertheless, the Brady Center’s website states that the Minnesota shooting demonstrates the problems with the “ready availability of ever-deadlier weapons” in our society. Does the Brady Center realize that guns will ALWAYS be available as long as police continue to arm themselves? Or are they now advocating that we disarm the police?

The Violence Policy Center also used the Minnesota tragedy to berate the nation for its “love affair with guns.” Again, does this “love affair” apply to the police?

The Brady Bunch might want to consider the common denominator in most public slayings -- a common factor which shows that, while thugs like the Minnesota teenager may be criminal, they’re not stupid.

After all, they usually seek out disarmed victims to perpetrate their crimes. They don’t go shoot up a police station. No, they go to where victims are defenseless -- like to a school, where teachers and principals are disarmed by law.

The majority of the American public has the right solution to this thorny dilemma. In a Research 2000 poll, 85% of Americans indicated that a principal or teacher should be able to use “a gun at school to defend the lives of students” to stop a school massacre.

This is the solution that works in the real world, where at least two massacres have been prevented by law-abiding gun owners. First there was Joel Myrick, an assistant principal, who defied the law and used his own gun to stop Luke Woodham’s shooting spree at a Mississippi high school in 1997.

Then there were two law school students at the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia who similarly used their own personal guns to stop Peter Odighizuwa’s rampage in 2002.

The Brady Bunch has long been accused of using tragedies and walking over dead bodies to help advance their agenda. Unfortunately for them, it gets embarrassing when they try to make an argument for gun control in a situation where the crook got his guns from the police.

Oops! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Erich Pratt is the Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America and the author of a civil government textbook, The Constitutional Recipe for Freedom: Twelve Principles of Liberty Today’s Politicians Don’t Want You to Know.

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