Fallout From Littleton
Instead, half-baked policy throwaways are Clinton’s mainstay, especially when they can be delivered with a trembling lower lip. Among his most-recent spate of gun-control initiatives were the following items, some of which, frankly, we’re going to have trouble with:
• Background checks on buyers at all gun-show sales. Our take: Oddly, many retail gun dealers are in favor of this provision, since it levels the playing field with “car trunk” gun sellers. It may come to pass. Bad outcome: A registration list of all gun buyers could be the eventual result.
• Raising the legal age for handgun possession from 18 to 21, and banning juvenile possession of certain semiautomatic rifles. Under these laws, your son or daughter will commit a felony as soon as they touch a handgun or restricted semi-auto, unless they have a written note of permission from parents on their person while engaging in the handgun target practice. Our take: Members of the gun industry have already agreed to this idea, so it will likely happen.
• Mandatory prison sentences of three to 10 years and $10,000 fines for adults, including parents, who allow children access to guns. Our take: For family members this is a long shot, since crimes of the children generally can’t be laid at the doorstep of the parents. But “straw man” gun purchasers are a different matter, and they should be prosecuted.
• Mandatory “safety locks” on all guns sold (see page 25 for a test of gun locks.) Our take: About 80 percent of all new guns sold already have locks provided, so this seems like a fait accompli.
• Making buyers of explosives subject to the same Brady law background checks as gun purchasers. Our take: This is unwieldy, since gasoline, propane tanks, and fertilizer could qualify as explosives. Worse outcome: Limiting the initiative to gun powders.
• Limiting individual handgun purchases to one per month. Our take: We’ll have to fight this one off, since people who don’t like guns can’t conceive of buying even a gun a year.
Overall, the criminals in Littleton, Colorado, broke at least 19 gun laws in perpetuating their crimes. In our opinion, adding another gun law (or more) wouldn’t have made any difference.