By any reasonable reckoning, the War on Drugs has been a colossal failure. Despite endless government propaganda and mass-media complicity, very little has changed in the thirty years since Richard Nixon first decided to clamp down on street-level pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, the costs in dollars have been astronomical, respect for all levels of government authority is at a well-deserved low, and the Fourth Amendment, which is intended to protect the citizens from "unreasonable searches and seizures", has been rendered almost moot.

Incredibly, the Clintonoids and their ilk are buoyed by this sort of dubious success, and have now launched, for lack of a better name, a War on Guns. Of course, the Administration gives the same lip service to the Second Amendment it gives to the Fourth, while doing its best to circumvent it. New gun-control measures have been dying on the vine, which has prompted the White House to vilify the National Rifle Association for ostensibly having Congress in its deep pockets. If legislation won't work, how about litigation? The latest ploy is to sue the makers of firearms for the putative "damage" they cause. Never mind that the weapons may have been acquired legally and then swiped by some miscreant; if a stolen Colt Defender is used in a crime, it's somehow Colt's fault? This makes no sense whatsoever. Then again, the idea isn't to make sense; it's to tie up gun makers in the courts so they can't fight back against the demonization of their products. It's the same process the government has traditionally used against "pornography", whatever that may be, and it's just as odious in this application.

The NRA has been running an infomercial which castigates the Administration for this sort of shoddy behavior (and, to be sure, every ten minutes or so, soliciting new members). NRA President Charlton Heston, still with that steely Moses-down-from-Sinai stare, warns, as always, that the next step is registration of all privately-held firearms, followed inexorably by confiscation. I don't know just how slippery this particular slope really is, but given the government's track record in this matter, even if they aren't thinking about confiscation somewhere down the line, it's a Bad Idea to make the process any easier for them by acquiescing to a registration system.

Not that my saying so will make it so, of course. "How is it any different from registering cars and drivers?" the anti-gun groups ask innocently. So why do we register cars and drivers, anyway? Because...well, just because. Or, as one of the (probably not three-quarters of a) Million Moms said, "Because I said so." Not good enough, Mom. And that goes for you too, Big Brother.

The Vent

22 May 2000

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 Copyright © 2000 by Charles G. Hill