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Old December 2, 2001, 06:41 AM   #1
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Join Date: April 14, 2000
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Zero Tolerance- Gun Control alive & well & coming on Strong!

Zero tolerance (Gun Control)
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Published: 12-1-01 Author: Editorial
Posted on 12/1/01 3:00 PM Eastern by FairWitness

AT a time when the nation is spending billions and skirting normal law enforcement procedures to increase domestic security, it makes less sense than ever to allow the sale of military-style weapons.

President George W. Bush should extend the federal ban that expires in 2004. It was a good idea before Sept. 11. It is non-negotiable now.

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to New Jersey's law banning many kinds of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition clips. That doesn't necessarily mean that the court agrees with the law, but it does mean that these laws are safe from constitutional challenge for the time being. Pro-gun enthusiasts' misguided insistence on allowing any kind of firearm to be sold and stockpiled by anyone should finally be met with zero tolerance.

The suit the court refused to hear was brought by the Coalition of New Jersey Sportsmen, Illinois-based gun manufacturers Springfield Inc. and Armalite Inc., and several gun owners, including a director of the National Rifle Association, Robert Viden Jr. To say that hunters do not shoot ducks or deer with rapid-fire military-style assault rifles is to state the obvious. The objection to the New Jersey law was that it was too vaguely worded, because it bans 37 gun models by name and others that are "substantially identical." But without this phrase, tiny modifications could easily turn illegal weapons into legal ones.

Banning military-style weapons is a first step. Closing the gunshow loophole is equally urgent, and a mild restriction compared to measures being discussed to defend against further terrorist attacks. Authorities are swiftly moving to tap more phones and crack down on visas. The people who inspect airplane luggage will have to be U.S. citizens and undergo criminal background checks. But there are no records of sale and no background checks of people who purchase firearms from unlicensed dealers -- at gun shows, on the Internet and at flea markets. Such buyers are not even required to show identification, much less prove citizenship or legal alien status.

There is bipartisan support for two Senate measures that would close this loophole. Republicans may embrace the move in an effort to close the gender gap and attract women voters. One of the sponsors, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says he expects to push for such a change after the Christmas recess, possibly as part of a homeland security bill. "I believe the terrorists are exploiting a loophole in our laws so they don't have to have a background check," he told The New York Times.

The gun lobby has criticized such efforts as taking advantage of fearful citizens reeling from attacks that had nothing to do with guns. But Mr. McCain is hardly a hysterical gun control advocate. Terrorists already have purchased military weapons in the United States in at least two instances that authorities were able to track down. Earlier this year, Ali Boumelhem, a member of the terrorist group Hezbollah, was convicted of conspiring to smuggle weapons to Lebanon. He had bought assault weapons, shotguns, ammunition and flash suppressers at a gun show. In Florida, Irish Republican Army terrorist Conor Claxton testified last year that he bought a variety of weapons at gun shows and through newspaper ads. "We have nothing like this at home," he told one reporter in amazement.

The public can no longer afford to sit back and allow the NRA to cloak the likes of Boumelhem and Claxton in the American flag. The right to bear arms does not require the United States to be the no-hassle shopping mall of terrorists and other violent criminals.

"The Agenda" is alive & well- note the use of buzz-phrases and old, discredited ideas passed off as truth.
johnr is offline  

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