Short Takes - Special on Gun Rights - July 1999

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The Colorado Freedom

Short Takes - Special on Gun Rights - July 1999

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Kopel Warns Against Mandatory Death-Locks
David Kopel, Research Director of the Independence Institute, recently published a paper with Eugene Volokh showing that mandatory "safety" locks for guns would in reality become death-locks. The paper, "Loaded Guns can be Good for Kids," is available at

Kopel notes that nearly all individuals already handle guns safely. A child has a much greater chance of drowning in a bucket than of being killed with a gun.

Advocates of death-locks often compare the gun locks to "child-proof" safety caps on aspirin. Surprisingly, Kopel and Volokh relate, poisoning deaths actually increased after Congress mandated "child-proof" medicine caps because parents became less careful about storing medicine.

Death-locks would interfere with other gun safety features. In addition, they would render guns useless against crime, and send the message to criminals that they will have the upper hand in any home break-in.

Kopel and Volokh explain eloquently why death-locks will lead to results opposite of those intended. But Congress may just be foolish enough to mandate them anyway. -Ari Armstrong

Squish Tancredo Threatens Public Safety
I keep trying to give Congressman Tom Tancredo the benefit of the doubt. But every time I see him in the news, he's supporting big government and double-crossing freedom advocates. First he called for more government control of the labor market. Then he backed away from his advocacy of market education and threw his support behind the government school bureaucracy.

But his latest betrayal is the most serious. In an interview with Michael Romano published in The Rocky Mountain News June 18, Tancredo said he now supports mandatory death-locks for guns, which will result in more crime and more death at the hands of criminals. He also supports more background checks by the Federal government, the first step in the confiscation of firearms. Finally, he supports the ban of certain ammunition magazines, which will render some guns useless for self-defense.

I tried to believe the best, but Tancredo seems hell-bent on proving he's an enemy of freedom. The people of the Sixth deserve better. - Ari Armstrong

Ed Stein's Unintended Support for Gun Ownership
Ed Stein, political cartoonist for The Rocky Mountain News, published a cartoon May 30 showing two young gunmen. The caption reads: "Q: How many school shootings will it take to change the gun control debate? A: One too many." Stein advocates gun control, as is obvious from his previous work. However, it occurred to me that the May 30 cartoon, by itself, could also be interpreted to support the right to own guns, particularly when we look at how existing gun control laws have disarmed citizens and given criminals the upper hand. I wrote Stein a letter pointing this out, which I reprint here.

Dear Mr. Stein,

I love your Denver Squares cartoon.

I also strongly agree with the sentiment in your May 30 political cartoon, in which you ask, "How many school shootings will it take to change the gun control debate?"

Like you, I am disturbed by trends in gun control over the last few decades. For instance, before the recent series of school shootings, in 1995, the Federal government prohibited parents and teachers from carrying guns onto school property, thus rendering them and their students defenseless against armed thugs. Thank God Principal Joel Myrick willfully broke this law last year at Pearl High in Mississippi, and was able to use his pistol to stop the killings at his school! When will politicians and the gun control lobby learn that the more gun control measures the government passes, the more vulnerable citizens will be to criminals? You're right to ask, how many more shootings will it take before we learn this lesson? God forbid we follow the path of Australia and ban guns; that country has since seen an increase in armed robberies of 44%. An armed society is a safe society, as history proves time and again.

Thank you for raising your pointed question; keep up the good work.

-Ari Armstrong

Hitler's Prophecy
In 1935, Adolf Hitler said, "This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future."

Now, nearly 65 years later, America is indeed on the brink of following Hitler's lead.

This quote was included in a letter to The Rocky Mountain News June 17 by Judy Moore. -Ari Armstrong

Where's the Responsibility?
On June 12, a 22 year old "man" named Scott Ramos was drinking alcohol and playing with a .22 pistol at a camp-ground party in Douglas Party, according to M.E. Sprengelmeyer of The Rocky Mountain News, June 16. Ramos fired several shots into the night, and, thinking he was out of bullets, aimed the gun at the head of a young girl and pulled the trigger. He wasn't out of bullets.

This kind of blatant irresponsibility -- and the death it caused -- turns my stomach. Didn't any of the kids at the party have parents who taught them anything about gun safety or even rudimentary common sense? What kind of fool mixes alcohol with guns? Why didn't anyone at the party stop the craziness before it was too late?

Why do parents continue to send their children to government schools which "teach" children to be passive and obedient and to unquestioningly follow orders and go along with the crowd? Who is prepared to stand up and do what is right?

In a June 17 letter to the News, Kerry Neuville naively advocates national (socialist) gun registration. However, she does make an excellent point when she urges gun owners to be "more pro-active in controlling their own." This kind of senseless tragedy makes me outraged! - Ari Armstrong

Scripps Howard Bias Against Guns
The Rocky Mountain News printed a "news" story June 15 by Lee Bowman which was distributed by Scripps Howard News Service. Scripps Howard is the parent-company of the News. The story, entitled, "7 million homes keep loaded guns," described those who store guns locked and unloaded as "vigilant" and those who do not do so as "disturbing." The story quoted only agents of the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which had conducted a survey of gun owners.

(How many gun owners flat out lied to the Federal agents conducting the survey is unknown. What gun storage has to do with "disease" is also unknown.)

True, parents should keep guns safely away from very young or ignorant children. However, parents should educate their older children how to handle firearms safely. Parents should also consider keeping a loaded firearm ready to protect their family from criminals. The article mentions the "accidental" deaths caused by irresponsibility with guns, but it entirely fails to mention the number of lives saved every year because loaded, ready guns deter crime. - Ari Armstrong

Victim's Father Denounces Gun Control
Darrell Scott, father of a girl killed at Columbine, told a Congressional committee that gun control is not the answer to violence. He said, "[W]hen something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs, politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that continue to erode away our personal and private liberties" (quoted in The Rocky Mountain News, May 28).

Lakewood Students Defend Their Rights
In a letter to The Rocky Mountain News June 2, a group of Lakewood High School students wrote, "There are many responsible young adults who safely own and use firearms. Shooting, whether at a paper target or game animal, teaches patience, concentration, responsibility and safety -- some of the virtues most needed by youth... [W]e should not react to the tragedy at Columbine by passing yet more restrictive gun-control laws, but by punishing the people responsible for [crime]."

Federal laws have already largely taken pistols out of the hands of young people. Next the gun control zealots want to take guns out of the hands of 18-21 year olds. If the trend continues, soon few will grow up learning how to handle a gun safely and effectively. And then gun confiscation will be that much closer. - Ari Armstrong

Gun Rights Get a Good Rap
I recently read the lyrics to a new rap song entitled "Gun Control is Racist." Lyrics by Don Kennedy, music by B-Cube, vocals by Shoanna Z. Copyright 1999 by Corad Records. The organization is on-line at, where the music is available. Here are a few excerpts of the lyrics:

10 million Africans stolen from original land, 2 million slaves genocide and left in the hands of the man...

Check the flow and peak gun control and how the set up begun, sadly on blacks... Hitler used it on Jews, genocide don't be confused, while we chose to stay slaves, what's in store for the race?... Drag a man behind a truck, lynchin tactics... Gun Control! Democrats want me to stress like that...

Michael Stipe and Stallone, Rosie O'donnell push on, in the midst of a battle alone, gun control will have us gone... Liberal Hollywood hypocrite, abusing guns to make your flicks... Jewish Senator Chuck Shumer of all people, to impose Hitler law is just pure evil... Colorado black lynched by racist youths, Clinton's gun control laws sets racists loose... We know who's pushing laws on blacks, gun control, fanatical Liberal Democrats...

Charleton marched with Martin Luther King, to attack Mr. Heston is assault on our King... Heston Fights for our rights both day and night, Liberals all hate him, because they know he's right... George Washington said guns restrain evil interference, listen to George, cause they don't hear us...

Liberals rip the second amendment from the constitution, by doing so they erase our contribution, do you hear me!

The Colorado Freedom