Blame the guns

By Joseph Farah

I guess it was inevitable that a few extremists would attempt, as they always do, to exploit the tragedy of the Washington, D.C.-area shootings to promote a new grab for guns.

Last week, Rep. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and three of his colleagues urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the marketing of military sniper rifles to civilians, noting that such a weapon may be involved in the recent Washington-area shootings.

Conyers of Michigan and his pals claimed in the letter to the FTC that sniper weapons are different from standard hunting rifles because they are designed to strike a target from a distance.

“Their accuracy and range capabilities make these weapons among the most dangerous available today,” the lawmakers said. “They can hit targets accurately one mile away and can inflict damage to targets up to four miles away.”

Conyers noted that the FTC did a study of entertainment industry marketing practices and violence after the Columbine school shootings in 1999. In other words, he suggested, if the FTC can mess with the First Amendment, why not the Second?

What’s wrong with this picture? So much, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

First, though, the idea that “military sniper weapons” are different from standard hunting rifles because they are designed to strike at long range is ludicrous. All rifles are designed to be accurate at long range. That’s the purpose of a rifle. Any rifle is reasonably accurate at 100 yards to 400 yards. No one suggests the sniper or snipers at work in the Washington area is or are firing from longer ranges than that.

Second, almost any civilian hunting rifle would be as good a sniper weapon as one using the .223 cartridge employed by the Beltway Sniper.

Third, once again, we see government power grabbers suggesting that the only legitimate civilian use of rifles is hunting. Is that why we have a Second Amendment in this country? I don’t think so. That’s not what the founders had in mind. They weren’t worried about hunting animals. They were concerned that our civilians would maintain the right to hunt down criminals in and out of government who would deprive them of their basic, inalienable rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

By the way, it’s not just the Congress-critters misusing this sniper issue. Listen to the latest missive from filmmaker Michael Moore about his new work, “Bowling for Columbine.”

“This is not good news for Junior [President Bush] and Company,” he writes. “Not when they are trying to drag us into another war. Not when a crazed sniper is exercising his constitutional right to own a high-powered rifle.”

High-powered? Who says it’s high-powered? And what does that mean? These people are either hopelessly ignorant about firearms or purposely deceitful. Or maybe it’s both.

There is no evidence that the Beltway Sniper is using some special weapon. He’s sure not using special ammo. He’s using some of the most common ammunition used for target practice because it’s so readily available and inexpensive.

Nevertheless, the gun grabbers are prepared to ban new classes of weapons as the solution.

You might think the deadly shootings in the Washington area would get thinking people to reconsider the way the government has turned our schools, our communities and even some cities and states into unprotected “gun-free zones.” They have made these places safe for bad guys who don’t care about the law. There’s no one around to return fire.

You might think the deadly shootings would get responsible government officials to realize they can’t protect and defend civilians from terrorists like this. They have removed the ability of the people to defend themselves. All the government can do now is run around and plead with the gunman or gunmen to give up. It’s a joke.

You might think the gun grabbers would skulk away quietly in the face of these incidents – having created the environment so conducive for a mad sniper.

But, no, the insanity continues. Bad guys aren’t being blamed. It’s the guns that are at fault.