Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

My Friend Sarah

Jerry Stratton, February 15, 1996

I’m not sure how it happened. As the proprietor of a major net site opposing gun control, Sarah Brady could hardly call me “friend”. And yet somehow she’s managed to overcome those barriers and extend her hand. What a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift.

Included with that overture is her “National Public Safety Survey”, a survey “on the need for common-sense gun laws”. “It won’t take long to complete”, she says, and she’s going to deliver it to Congress so that “lawmakers will know where you stand on gun control.”

Well, I can hardly turn down a request from a friend, can I? Here, Sarah, are the answers you requested. Don’t worry, I also sent the paper survey back in the mail. Sorry, I couldn’t find a stamp of my own to save you those “much needed funds”.

I’m glad to see you use recycled paper: the twenty thousand gun laws that exist in this country already waste a lot of trees.

  1. The latest FBI statistics reveal that 53% of murders are now committed by “strangers or unknown persons” and that 70% of all murders involve guns. How concerned are you about gun violence in this country?

    • I am extremely concerened and want to do something about it.
    • I am concerned, but feel I can’t do anything about it.
    • I’m not concerned.

    Sarah, I’m not concerned. The real issue, of course, is criminals who don’t fear their victims, and who also don’t fear the criminal justice system. “Gun violence” has nothing to do with guns, and a lot to do with violence. Time after time it has been shown, in places like Mexico, Great Britain, Washington DC and New York City, that criminals who want firearms will get them.

  2. Did you know that several Members of Congress have introduced legislation to repeal the Brady Law—a law that has worked to block more than 40,000 criminals and other prohibited persons from buying handguns during its first year alone?

    • Yes
    • No

    Sarah, I’ll try to keep this friendly, but you’re not a particularly smooth liar. Those “40,000 criminals” included approximately 39,996 jaywalkers and 4 possible felons. Last I checked, only one of those four has actually been brought to trial. That’s right: out of all 40,000 denials, only one was a significant enough criminal to actually warrant a trial.

    In those cities where records of denials are kept, the majority of denials are for speeding, bad checks, dog license violations, and fishing without a permit. Hardly the hardened felons you claimed would be prevented from getting firearms.

    Sarah, my answer to this is yes, I am aware of this legislation. And I support it all the way.

  3. Chief lobbyist for the NRA, Tanya Metaksa, announced recently, “We have the assurances of the speaker [Gingrich] that there will be repeal” of the assault weapons ban. Do you agree that concern for public safety and the will of the people should matter more to congress than the agenda of the National Rifle Association?

    • Yes, I urge Congress to show some courage by standing up to the NRA’s attempts to repeal gun control legislation.
    • No, I don’t agree.
    • Undecided.

    Sarah, you’ve built a two-faced horse here, and you know it. The NRA is made up of three and a half million voters. That is the will of the people. Concern for public safety is the highest priority of the NRA-ILA, and the lowest priority of HCI. HCI lobbies to protect criminals from civilians. The NRA-ILA lobbies to retain the right of civilians to protect themselves from criminals.

    No, Sarah, I don’t agree with you.

  4. Would you support legislation to require a license for anyone purchasing a handgun and to register handgun transfers—just as we license drivers and register our cars?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Undecided

    Of course not, Sarah. Because what you’ve just stated is impossible. We don’t require licenses for anyone purchasing cars. We don’t require licenses for people selling cars either.

    Now, if you mean a system whereby: (a) no license is required to purchase a firearm of any size or function; (b) a license to carry in public is automatically given unless you can’t tie your shoes on the second try; and (c) states must recognize the licenses of residents of other states; why, then I’d be happy to agree with you!

    But until then, the answer remains no.

  5. Would you support a nationwide campaign to enact a law to stop back-alley gun sales by prohibiting people from buying more than one gun a month? Such a law is working right now in Virginia which is no longer the #1 source state for gun runners up and down the East Coast.

    • Yes
    • No
    • Undecided

    Sarah, friend, you know this is wrong. Virginia was the “number one” state in captured and traced firearms. The Bureau doesn’t trace all the firearms used by gun runners—only those submitted to it for evaluation. Most of those submitted to it are from Washington, DC, a notorious source city for firearms violations. And Washington, DC, just happens to be a suburb of Virginia. You know this, of course.

    You also know, of course, that the majority of the Bureau’s gun traces are not for real crimes. They’re for paperwork crimes—citizens of New York City, for example, are criminals merely for owning a firearm, as are citizens of Washington, DC. Such “homeowner criminals” show up disproportionately in the Bureau’s statistics—they don’t think they have anything to hide, so they don’t file away identifying marks such as the firearm’s serial number. Real criminals do.

    Finally, the Bureau made no attempt whatsoever in their trace to determine how the firearms made it out of Virginia. Those who steal firearms are not going to be burdened by “one a month” gun laws.

  6. Are you interested in learning about grassroots activities in your area and participating in a local campaign against gun violence in your own community?

    • Yes, please let me know more about what I can do to help.
    • No, I don’t have time right now—but I support those efforts.
    • No, I’m not interested.

    Sorry, Sarah, I’m not on your hook yet. I’ve got my hands full fighting your misguided, dishonest attempts at disarming my neighbors so that our local criminals will have free access.

  7. Do you believe that America needs more sensible gun control laws, not less, in order to protect public safety by blocking every pathway through which guns get into the wrong hands?

    • Yes
    • No

    Sarah, this country already has 20,000 gun control laws in place. We don’t need any more. No gun control law yet has succeeded in stopping “the wrong hands” from getting access to guns. Unless, of course, by the wrong hands you mean “Mr. and Mrs. America”, as your friend Diane Feinstein does. If you mean the average American citizen should be unarmed, your laws may actually have some effect.

    Criminals, however, will always be able to get firearms. In World War II, the allies dropped plans for fully-automatic machine guns into France, so that the French resistance could build them in their basements. What is a firearm besides a couple of springs and a barrel? Unless you plan to outlaw all power tools, you aren’t going to stop criminals from getting firearms.

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