Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | July 9, 2008 Becky Fenger

Guns and circuses

The Phoenix Police Department, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Arizonans for Gun Safety, spent the month of June focusing on reducing violence in targeted south Phoenix neighborhoods. Good idea. Labeled “Take Back Your Neighborhood; Prevent Gun Violence,” the campaign included a gun-buyback event. Boneheaded idea.

Let’s dissect the reasoning behind gun buyback programs. The theory is that there are “too many guns floating around out there,” making our world a more dangerous place. So let’s take taxpayer money and offer cash or – in this case – $100 gift certificates to any Bashas’ or Food City grocery stores when a person anonymously turns over any gun to the police.

Who do you suppose is most likely to hand over their guns? That would be law-abiding citizens who are in legal possession of the firearms. Why not get cold hard cash for an old gun that is no longer used or no longer operable? The operation netted a hundred guns and pleased Sgt. Sean Connolly. Will the surrender reduce gang and gun violence in south Phoenix? Don’t be silly.

In logic-defying statements, citizens will betray their lack of understanding of gun-control consequences. Washington, D.C. is in the spotlight now for the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the famous D.C. vs. Heller case. The New Hampshire Union Leader points out that after the D.C. gun ban went into effect in 1976, Washington’s murder rate skyrocketed. Yet folks think gun buybacks are neat because “I’m afraid of guns,” or “they get guns off the streets.”

What really boggles my mind is the conversation I had with a Holocaust survivor who is of the firm belief that only police should have guns. Surely she knows that the first thing that dictators or governments will do is seize the firearms of the citizenry in order to render them defenseless. Has not history taught us about the role of guns in the protection of liberty?

Much of our lawmaking is reactionary. A consumer will lose his life as a result of careless use of a product, and a barrage of regulations will be passed to require warning labels or outright banning of the product. Such is the case of the driven Dr. Richard Corlin when he was president-elect of the American Medical Association. A member of his staff was killed by a stray bullet upon leaving a holiday party. This tragedy led him to formulate a plan to use his leadership post as a bully pulpit to view gun-related violence as a public health crisis.

When Dr. Corlin appeared at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, he told the audience that gun violence was at an epidemic level, but only in the United States. (No one challenged him on this statement.) He used this designation of an epidemic to institute policies in emergency rooms that required doctors to gather information on whether there were any guns in the home while performing a history and physical exam.

School nurses were encouraged to do the same. Where was the public outcry? “We as physicians and as the American Medical Association have an ethical and a moral responsibility to do what it is we can to stop this epidemic,” Corlin announced.

It would be better to listen to an organization like the Second Amendment Sisters who teach that lives can be saved with gun safety education programs and ownership by responsible citizens. It takes a lot of education to contradict the propaganda put out by groups like Handgun Control Inc., however. To illustrate the point, I asked a number of physicians at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale their attitude on gun control and the views of Dr. Corlin. Those to whom I spoke gave responses that were no more informed on the subject than the general populace. “There may be value to responsible ownership of guns,” one doctor offered, “but they kind of creep me out and I would feel better knowing that there are fewer of them out there.” Men of science were operating on feelings. You gun grabbers out there, take cheer.

Quote worthy of repeating:
“Gun control? It’s the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I’m a bad guy, I’m always gonna have a gun.”
Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, famous Mafia figure who ratted on his fellow mobsters, in a 1999 issue of Vanity Fair.