W. Riley, the latest (as of this writing) Clinton-Gore Administration flunky to criticize publicly Americansâ€™ gun rights, said early last month that pro-gun rights spokesmen “need to stop defining themselves as â€˜victims of media manipulationâ€™ and help keep our children from becoming the victims of gun violence in our schools, in our homes and on our streets.”
Secretary Riley told 450 school officials involved in the federal Safe and Drug-Free Schools program that “as long as this society continues to glorify violence, continues to make it easy for young people to get guns – and as long as we continue to hide our heads in the sand or fail to reach out when a young person is truly troubled – we will have to confront tragedies like Springfield and Jonesboro.”
The U. S. Supreme Court ruled on June 8 that drug dealers can be sentenced to an extra five years for carrying a gun even if they keep it in a trunk or locked glove box instead of a holster.
“The word â€˜carry,â€™…used in its ordinary sense, keeps the same meaning whether one carries a gun, a suitcase or a banana,” the Court said in a 5-4 decision affecting federal cases.
The question for the Court in the case, Muscarello v. United States, No. 96-1654, was whether traveling in a car with a gun in a locked glove compartment or trunk – as opposed to carrying a gun on oneâ€™s person – met the lawâ€™s definition of carry. The narrow majority, in an opinion by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, said that it did.
Justice Breyer, in an opinion upholding rulings by federal appeals courts in New Orleans and Boston, was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day Oâ€™Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.
In dissenting, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that if Congress intended to add five years for transporting a weapon in a vehicle instead of carrying it on the person, it clearly would have said so. She was joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and David H. Souter.
“You know, quite frankly, Iâ€™m a little more worried about the crime rate among suburban white teenagers,” Julian Bond, Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said recently during a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D. C.
“It seems to me,” he continued, “thereâ€™s kind of a pathology out there, some kind of love of guns, a gun culture out there thatâ€™s dangerous and insidious. You know, if this were black kids doing this, youâ€™d see op ed pieces…talking about a pathology of violence loose in the community, about some dangerous elements being unleashed, about the breakdown in family values, about – come on, give me a break. Itâ€™s guns. Itâ€™s guns. Does nobody believe that itâ€™s guns…
“You know, Iâ€™m happy living here in the District of Columbia, but Iâ€™m a little afraid to go out in the suburbs here because, you know, these people will just shoot you down like flies. Give me a break.”
“My nephew was one of the kids shot at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon,” wrote Ricky Montgomery in THE WASHINGTON POST. “He took a bullet in the arm. Seeing him on the evening news being carted away on a gurney was difficult. Also upsetting is how much of the media, the President and the other politicians are again blaming guns and gun ownership for the recent rash of school shootings.
“The bullet that tore through my nephewâ€™s arm was shot from a gun that was aimed by a deranged killer. The killer is to blame, not the gun. The guns used in the Oregon shooting were illegally obtained. The killer premeditated the actions he took that morning.
“As youths in a Los Angeles suburb in the â€™60s and â€™70s, my peers and I had access to guns. None had trigger locks, and we knew where they were kept. We knew that to aim at an innocent victim and pull the trigger was murder, and we did not conceive of using a gun in a fight. I never heard of school shootings while growing up.
Something is changing in society, and it is not the availability of weapons to kids.
“According to family friends, the parents of the killer asked the authorities to keep him in custody the day before the shooting. The killer had brought a gun onto campus and been caught. The killer had a troubled and violent past, and the parents knew the killer had crossed the line. The authorities refused to help him. The parents are now dead, as are two students. It happens over and over; criminals are released and continue to commit crimes.
“Place blame on the individual or society, but not on the existence of guns. Providing â€˜safetyâ€™ with more restrictive gun control laws is a feel-good fallacy that has failed in the past.”
In Paris, France, the National Assembly voted this spring to tighten already rigid restrictions on the private ownership of firearms. The bill must go to the Senate, which is expected to take it up in the autumn. The bill would ban the purchase or possession of firearms or ammunition without official approval and would limit gun ownership to hunters and collectors.