THE COST OF SAVING KAYLA
The next day,
Senators Charles Schumer, Frank Lautenberg and Richard Durbin called a joint
press conference. Said Durbin: "Yesterday's tragedy in Michigan is yet another
example of why we need gun control laws, sensible gun control laws, like the
Federal Child Access Prevention bill, to keep guns out of the hands of kids...(We
need to establish) a standard for trigger locks, for gun safes, for safe and
secure storage of guns to keep them out of the hands of children."
The rest of
the nation's political opportunists followed suit, and, explointing the wave
of media-fueled hysteria, lost no time in trotting out their own pet schemes
for further restricting firearm ownership.
- On March 15, New York
Governor George Pataki offered up a smorgasbord of proposals, including a
ban on the possession and sale of all so-called "assault-weapons", the mandatory
sale of "child-safety locking devices" with every new gun sale, and ballistic
- On March 21, New York
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani called for strict licensing of all gun-owners, declaring
that anyone who wants a gun should "have to pass a written exam that shows
they know how to use the gun, that they're intelligent enough and responsible
enough to handle a gun".
The real questions that
ought to be asked are these: Just which law would have saved Kayla? And, if
every one of the more than 22,000 "tough" gun laws already on the books in this
country were rigorously enforced, would even that have done the trick?
The fact is,
not even complete firearm prohibition would have been enough to save Kayla!
English experience. Today, handguns are virtually banned in Great Britain, and
restrictions governing possession and use of long guns are severe. Yet, the
headline in the LONDON TIMES on January 16 proclaimed "Killings Rise as
3 Million Illegal Guns Flood Britain." In 1998, armed crime rose by 10
percent from 1997, and the figures for 1999 were expected to be even higher,
the story noted.
In whose possession
are all those illegally possessed guns? Many are in the hands of England's "Yardies,"
the drug-dealing subculture equivalent to that which produced Kayla Rolland's
And it is Great
Britain's restrictive firearm laws that created the climate where, not only
could a black market in drugs thrive, but wherein those same black marketeers
could create a robust illicit trade in firearms, as well.
If the black
market traffic in drugs and guns cannot be stemmed in Great Britain--where laws
are far more stringent, and citizens have far fewer rights than here in the
States--how could any law possibly have placed the gun used to murder Kayla
safely out of reach of her 6-year old killer?
can put all criminological evidence aside and arrive at the truth from the answers
to two other simple questions:
- Just which law is it
that we can count on America's criminals and juvenile gang memgers to abide
- Which law can we count
on abusive and irresponsible parents to obey?
any reply from the anti-self-defense lobby, but the answers to both are "NONE."
It is the answers to those questions that the firearm-prohibitionists cannot
deal with, because it exposes the utter futility of their "reasonable"
Why, when fatal
gun accidents in this country have reached their lowest level in a century,
and lie at the bottom of the list of all causes for accidental death, has the
demand for laws mandating "safe-storage" of firearms become ever more
know--just like most of us do--that "trigger-locks" won't stop 10-year-olds,
much less 20-year-old "children" or determined criminals. but "safe-storage"
schemes have nothing to do with safety, or saving "just one life"--they're
just clever bait-and switch tactics intended to remove firearms from the realm
the mainstream media gives a platform for the disingenuous fears professed by
people like pediatrician Mark Schuster. In a March 31 Gannett News Service item
entitled "Many Kids Have Access to Guns, Study Finds," Schuster lamented
that "a surprisingly large number of kids are in homes where guns are loaded
and ready to be shot. The numbers are very concerning...."
are primed for action because they are the self-defense guns of Americans. But
if self-defense can be disparaged, it becomes easier to minimize its importance.
A trigger lock
on a gun used for self-defense will drastically lower the chances for success
in fending off criminal attack, especially against a felon who won't be using
one (despite what Bill Clinton might tell us, to the contrary). and once self-defense
is removed from the firearm equation--as the firearm-prohibitionists always
do- EVERY gun becomes "unsafe," and NO measure to prevent the criminal
or negligent use of a firearm can be considered too extreme or "unreasonable."
is the most important factor in the equation. According to Yale researcher Dr.
John Lott, guns are used in preventing crime five times more frequently than
in committing them. And the research of Dr. Gary Kleck has shown that ordinary
Americans use firearms 2.5 million times, or more, each year, for self-defense.
a means of predicting the future, from the observation of past experience. Good
science allows us to make better life choices. The situation Great Britain now
faces could have been easily predicted from John Lotts' science.
In his 1998
book MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME, Lott speculated on the kind of world we could look
forward to if we attempted to eliminate guns from society. As he observed: "(From)
the ease with which illegal items such as drugs find their way across borders...(we
can conclude) that... The transition to a gun-free world would be costly (if
not impossible)...Not everyone will benefit equally from the abolition of guns...To
the extent that guns are an equalizer, their elimination will strengthen criminals
relative to physically weak victims."
In their hopeless
search for "Utopia," the firearm prohibitionists invariably urge us
to emulate "civilized" countries, like "gun-free" Great Britain. Great
Britain is now getting a crash-course on John Lott's science. "Safe storage"
schemes are just one more step in that same direction, here in the States.
Americans took out their calculators and figured out how high the price tag
really is, to "save just one life." Because if the firearm-prohibitionists
prevail, the "Utopia" they have in store for us is guaranteed to bring
with it many more Kayla Rollands.
About the Authors:
Dr. Joanne D. Eisen practices Dentistry in Old Bethpage, NY. She is President,
Association of Dentists for Accuracy in Scientific Media (ADASM). Dr. Paul Gallant
practices Optometry in Wesley Hills, NY. He is Chairman, Committee for Law-Abiding
Gun Owners, Rockland (LAGR), a 2nd Amendment grassroots group, based in Rockland
County, NY. The authors may be reached at: LAGR, P.O. Box 354, Thiells, NY 10984-0354
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