L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 73, May 22, 2000
Mothers Know Best?
'Million Moms' Distracted Attention from De Facto Gun Ban
by Vin Suprynowicz
Special to TLE
And so the Democratic media event known as the Million Myrmidon March has drawn its 80,000 puzzled women looking for some free Ben & Jerry's ice cream -- many admitting they had no idea who their congressman is, and had equally little inkling that Dr. John Lott demonstrated years ago how jurisdictions allowing private concealed weapons have far lower crime rates than murder capitals like Washington, where a total ban on civilian firearms did nothing to stop local children from shooting up the zoo this spring.
Despite the fact the statists used their usual gimmicks to beef up the turnout -- organizers asked Montgomery County (Md.) schools to credit the time of students attending the march toward their "student service learning" requirement -- spokesmen for the Metro subway system told Neal Knox of the NRA that ridership was up by 80,000 over a normal May weekend -- a number which matches the MMM attendance estimate of Pahrump attorney and Sierra Times correspondent Nancy Lord Johnson, a Washington native who returned last weekend for the competing rally of the Second Amendment Sisters.
Of course, the number is irrelevant -- though one suspects if 80,000 racists gathered for a self-styled "Million Aryans March" the press would at least occasionally point out their attendance had fallen short by a factor of 12.
The point is that if our hypothetical 80,000 neo-Nazis descended on Washington, demanding new laws to prevent those of the Jewish faith from owning businesses or holding controlling interest in banks, one might expect the nation's commentators to spend some time lamenting the fact that 80,000 Americans are so churlish and deluded as to imagine they could thus demand a suspension of the First Amendment freedom of religion, no matter what their numbers.
What I would not expect is for the media harridans to breathlessly throw up visual aids on my television screen, informing me, "Here are some of the statistics driving the Aryans' outrage," whereupon I would be informed that 63 percent of our nation's banks actually have Jews on their board of directors, or whatever.
I made up the number immediately above out of thin air. I have no idea how many American banks have members of the Jewish faith on their boards, nor do I care, nor should any American who respects the freedom of religion.
But the TV networks last weekend played precisely such an advocacy role for the partisan "Million Mom March" -- the partisan "Million Mom March" -- organized by Donna Dees-Thomases, gullibly identified by Time magazine as a mere "housewife and mother of two young children from New Jersey" when in fact (as Lisa Schiffren finally revealed in the Wall Street Journal) she's "currently on leave from her job as a publicist at CBS, where she now works for David Letterman and previously worked for Dan Rather. It also happens she is the sister-in-law of Susan Thomases, Hillary Clinton's closest friend and, frequently, attorney of record."
Mrs. Dees-Thomases is the publicist who persuaded Mrs. Clinton to appear on CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman," where "the first lady was given an advance peek at answers to a 'pop quiz' she aced on the air," reports Bill Sammon of the Washington Times. "Mrs. Dees-Thomases met Monday (May 8) with Mr. Clinton at the White House to plot strategy for the march."
Faced with such a partisan put-up job, intended to manufacture a November election issue out of thin air, did our TV networks point out the Second Amendment guarantees the right of each individual American to own a machine gun without being charged a fee or made to apply for any "permit," no matter how many "moms" don't like it? (In both Murdock vs. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105  and Follett vs. Town of McCormick, S.C., 321 U.S. 573 , the U.S. Supreme Court broadly and unequivocally held that requiring licensing or registration of any constitutional right is itself unconstitutional.)
Instead, our TV hosts breathlessly parroted such purposely deceptive and long-debunked statistics as "12 American children are killed by guns each day."
In fact, 70 percent of those reported "child" deaths involve 17- to 19-year-old drug gangsters killing each other in turf disputes or shot by police as they commit felonies. The real statistic for children under 14 killed by gun accidents is 1.7 per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
That number actually demonstrates accidental firearm deaths are down 30 percent in the past decade alone, thanks to gun safety campaigns like the much-maligned NRA's "Eddie Eagle" program.
Firearm accidents kill fewer small children each year than drown in mop buckets. Accidental firearm death numbers are in the same ballpark as the number of kids now killed or maimed by automobile airbags mandated by the government.
The more relevant statistic for most "moms" is that a woman who does nothing to resist a rapist is 2.5 times more likely to suffer serious injury than a woman who uses a handgun.
"Just a few reasonable restrictions"? Speakers at the "march" included such forensic experts as comedienne Rosie O'Donnell (who has forthrightly admitted she wants to send every gun owner to prison) and Susan Sarandon (who, according to David Kopel of the Colorado-based Independence Institute, spent the previous weekend at a Madison Square Garden rally in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who used a revolver to murder a policeman).
"The MMM is controlled by the Bell Campaign, an extremely wealthy anti-gun organization based in San Francisco," reports Mr. Kopel. "The group is plainly against gun ownership in general; the Bell Campaign organizes pickets against sporting goods stores simply because the stores sell firearms, and its website warns women not to own or carry guns for protection. ... The Bell Campaign website applauds the confiscation of every handgun in Great Britain, and of every self-loading rifle and shotgun in Australia."
But at least the "Moms" did manage to distract attention from last weekend's most important gun-rights-related event.
The National Instant Check System -- the FBI data base into which gun dealers are now required to pay for a "background check" on each customer -- was down from Thursday through Sunday, the weekend of the Million Mom March, without any apology or explanation.
"Recognizing that the national background check (NICS) could stop gun sales altogether, Congress explicitly required its use only if it is running and information is available" reports Alan Korwin of Phoenix, author of "Gun Laws of America."
Under paragraph 18 USC+AKc-922(t)(5), licensed dealers are to be punished for transferring firearms without a background check only if "the national instant criminal background check system was operating" at the time of the sale.
"But gun dealers, afraid for their livelihood and licenses, have so far been reluctant to risk relying on the law ... creating a sort of rights-denial-by-default," Mr. Korwin continues.
Doing business without NICS would almost certainly attract the wrath of federal agents, Korwin explains. "Though the intent was to protect you, and that language was specifically placed there during drafting for this very reason, I have little doubt that the feds would be, shall we say, displeased at such a challenge to their power."
Korwin reports FBI statistics show the firearms industry was shut down for more than eight full business days between Dec. 10, 1998 and June 15, 1999 due to unexplained FBI computer crashes -- with no compensation offered any dealer.
"What other industry would tolerate such dramatic and constant damage to its business?" Korwin asks. "The most amazing aspect is the deafening silence from the mainstream media, where a mere five-hour outage at amazon.com makes national headlines for days.
"When the FBI system is off your only option for legally obtaining firearms in America is by private sale from another person," Korwin points out -- even if you and your children are being pursued by a mad stalker.
"If private sales are the sole channel for obtaining arms, there are extraordinary implications to the president's stated goal, supported by a portion of Congress, in seeking to outlaw law-abiding private sales, and deceptively categorizing such legitimate and legal activity as 'a loophole.' "
CNN reports 28 percent of Americans going through the "instant" check don't get an "instant" response, at all. But "That hardly matters," Korwin concludes, "if the government can simply turn off retail gun sales day after day, and no one stands up to them."