- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 5, 2000

Maryland Governor Parris Glendening, the president, and their allies in the gun-control movement need to do some fact-checking before repeating the claims they've made recently about handguns and gun-related violence. Some findings by noted Yale University researcher John R. Lott Jr. are especially relevant in the wake of Maryland's just-passed law that will require gun locks of one type or another for all new handguns sold in that state. Mr. Lott, in a recent study, found that President Clinton gun-control mentor of Mr. Glendening has:

• Hugely exaggerated the benefits of the Brady law. While the president claims that "hundreds of thousands of criminals" have been prevented from buying guns as a result of Brady law background checks, these numbers are based, says Mr. Lott, on faulty Justice Department tallies that overstate the number of denials to criminals "by more than 30-fold."

• Falsely claimed that "13 children die every day from guns." In fact, according to Mr. Lott, fewer than 3 percent of young people killed by guns are less than 10 years old. The majority (70 percent) are almost adults 17-19 years old and most of those are gang members, not child victims of household mishaps. "Trigger locks would do nothing to stop gang members from using guns," says Mr. Lott.

• Falsely claimed that "American children are killed by gunfire at a rate nine times higher than the combined total of the next 25 top industrial nations." Says Mr. Lott, "Selectively including countries and some creative math can go a long way. For example, are Hong Kong and Kuwait industrial nations? Why exclude large countries like Russia or Brazil, which have among the toughest gun bans in the world and still have murder rates four times higher than those in the United States? Either country by itself, despite much smaller populations, has many more juvenile gun deaths than we do."

Of course, facts have never mattered much to gun-control advocates such as Mr. Clinton or Mr. Glendening. What they seek ultimately is a disarmed citizenry a goal to be achieved by the inculcation of mass hysteria via remorseless demagoguery. It's an old form of snake oil the false promise of "security" in exchange for freedom but one that has timeless appeal among people who don't stop to examine the facts or use their heads. Messrs. Glendening and Clinton are counting on such people to sway the debate. Here's hoping wiser heads such as Mr. Lott's prevail.

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