Back From the Brink

The Second War Against Gunowners

During President Clinton's November 9, 1994, news conference, the White House press core dropped its usual pose of "objective, tough reporting" and adopted more of a "what's next, boss?" bleat. Not surprisingly, some of the very first questions put to the leader of the new Irrelevant Party dealt with the future of gun control.

Was all the "progress" we were making on gun control going to grind to a halt, or did the Republican landslide spell the repeal of the Brady Bill? "Not to worry," a concerned President Clinton assured them. After chewing his lower lip for a moment, he explained that one of his top aides took it upon himself to read the Constitution last night and therein found a clause about something called a "veto." The old dogs explained the concept to the young pups, and the White House press core went back to doing what anv group of dogs docs best.

The most annoying aspects of the pre-'89 discussions of gun control were the disingenuous arguments made by both sides. The antigun lobby generally adopted a crime-control argument. They argued that law-abiding gunowners must accept some "reasonable" restrictions or inconveniences in order to prevent guns from "falling into the hands" of criminals, children, or the Christian right. The anti-gun control camp fell into the trap of allowing the other side to frame the debate. What resulted...

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