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Why the President is Wrong on Gun Control

By Rick Castaldo

Bill Clinton once again used the Columbine tragedy as a prop in pushing his big government, liberal agenda. To make matters much worse, he claimed to be acting in the name of my family. You see, my son is in a wheelchair because of Columbine.  But our family doesn't believe that more gun control is the right answer. 

In what was thankfully his last state of the Union speech, the President asked for still more gun control. He offered a typical "big government" solution on how to cut crime, asking honest Americans to fill out more forms, pay more money, and get another license. How much bigger would he make the BATF so that it could administrator a new licensing law? How many more of our tax dollars would disappear in fees and licensing costs? Would his minions create a new federal agency that further intrudes into law-abiding citizen's lives? 

Once again the President has shamefully demonstrated that he does not understand the problem. It's the criminals, stupid. 

Selected for special attention during the Clinton speech was Tom Mauser, who lost his son Daniel at Columbine. Mr. Clinton spoke about Mr. Mauser,  who has dedicated himself to removing guns from the streets. Mr. Clinton, disingenuous as usual, spun a good yarn about how Columbine has galvanized people like Mr. Mauser to unite and work to reduce crime. Mr. Clinton would have us believe that everyone affected by Columbine feels more gun control is the answer. 

Although working to accomplish that is certainly Mr. Mauser's right, Bill Clinton is using him as a pawn, as he has done with so many others during his political career. Passing more laws and instituting more regulation will not force criminals to change their behavior. Putting them in prison will.

 Does the President really believe that criminals are going take the time to get owners licenses? Does the president believe criminals are worried about consequences from the federal government? Does the president believe in anything other than big brother running our lives? Will he fire Janet Reno if she doesn't prosecute the new laws? What will be the fine for using a handgun when you have no license, Community service? 

After my son Richard was injured at Columbine, I did a little of my own research. I found that there were literally thousands of laws regarding guns, some twenty thousand, both Federal and State. The two murderers at Columbine broke at least seventeen (maybe more) different laws. 

Richard was asked early on about how he felt about guns and if America needed more laws. His response: a few more laws wouldn't have made any difference at Columbine. 

I  found that of some 6,000 students who had brought guns to school, a federal crime, the Clinton justice department prosecuted 13. Of the thousands of felons who violated the Brady Bill, Ms. Reno found time to prosecute only a few. I wonder how many of these felons bought their guns illegally when Ms. Reno let them walk. I wonder how many innocent lives they impacted. 

I'm sure that if Mr. Clinton gets the license law through Congress, she'll do a better job. Right. 

My son and I both believe that if criminals received swift prosecution followed by meaningful punishment, crime would drop in this country. 

It was interesting to note that Clinton took credit for dropping crime rates in the U.S.  As shameful as it is, the federal government has done nothing to contribute to this trend. I give credit to a law and order agenda by many of the Governors and Mayors recently elected, replacing the failed, big government liberals.  A few of the biggest cities in America account for the huge decrease in crime. New York City alone accounted for a huge fraction of the decline in violent crime in this country. 

Of course that was after a liberal was replaced with a mayor who put criminals in jail. It is no surprise that it has been accomplished by enforcing the law. It is also no surprise that it isn't Clinton clones who are doing it. 

Criminals will never change their behavior until our leaders change theirs. Passing more gun laws in this country won't help reduce crime. 

Where was the rush to outlaw fertilizer and diesel fuel following the Oklahoma City bombing? If politicians really care about the Columbine victims and all the suffering they have endured, they should stop using us to score cheap political points. Mr. Clinton obviously doesn't feel my family's pain. 

Richard Castaldo is the father of a student who was shot at Columbine, and must now use a wheelchair. He wrote this article for the Independence Institute, a civil liberties think tank in Golden,


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You can never have a revolution to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution. G.K. Chesterton, English journalist and author, 1955

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