- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2000

Parsing Gore's claim to protect gun owners

The Times article "Heston stumps for Bush and Allen" (Metropolitan, Oct. 20) mentions that Democratic Sen. Charles S. Robb and Vice President Al Gore "both have to repeatedly declare they don't intend to take guns away from hunters or sportsmen."

Allow me to set the record straight with Mr. Gore's own words from the Oct. 18 presidential debate:

"Let me tell you my position. I think that some common-sense gun safety measures are certainly needed with the flood of cheap handguns that have sometimes been working their way into the hands of the wrong people. But all of my proposals are focused on that problem: gun safety. None of my proposals would have any effect on hunters or sportsmen or people who use rifles."

How does Mr. Gore define "common sense," "flood," "cheap" and "wrong people"? Likely the same way President Clinton defines "is."

Mr. Gore's cheap barrister's trick (refined at the feet of the masters of spin in the White House) defies reality. He has made it clear that he stands four-square for the policies of organizations such as Handgun Control Inc. and the Violence Policy Center, whose ultimate goal is to completely rid society of guns. The evidence is plentiful.

Mr. Gore says "none of my proposals," but his policies will clearly reflect those of lobbyists from organizations that have paid for his campaign. To be fair, Texas Gov. George W. Bush can expect to be lobbied by the National Rifle Association but it takes its policies from the Constitution, which guarantees the people's right to keep and bear arms.

Mr. Gore, however, believes otherwise. The Clinton-Gore Justice Department has argued that Americans have no right to own firearms (see United States vs. Emerson, currently in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans). Mr. Gore would deny the poor the right to "cheap" (inexpensive) handguns for self-defense. All who own expensive European-crafted pistols should feel safe, for a while.

But the "hunters or sportsmen or people who use rifles" should be worried.

In the past eight years, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) has used the power of bureaucratic edict to define what is "sporting" when defining guns for "sporting uses." We are told that certain semiautomatics have no legitimate sporting use and have been banned from being imported into the United States by the BATF.

A Gore administration will not outlaw a "hunting rifle"; rather, it will call it a "sniper rifle" with no legitimate sporting use, and then outlaw it. All duck hunters with semiautomatic shotguns should well be wary. According to Mr. Gore's way of thinking, these are dangerous, high-capacity assault weapons.

Mr. Gore's political brethren in Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Canada have followed this formula of incrementalism for years, and it works. The guns of the wrong people were confiscated by the government, and now violent crimes are increasing steadily, much as they are in the District and Maryland.

The FBI Uniform Crime Report was released on Oct. 14. and shows that Maryland has moved up to No. 4 in violent crime from No. 5 last year. It remains No. 4 in murder, and retains top honors as having America's highest robbery rate. Wherever the right to keep and bear arms has been infringed, a similar picture has developed.

Guaranteeing America's criminal class a safe working environment by stripping law-abiding adults of the right to self-defense isn't good policy and it isn't right.

But Mr. Gore clearly doesn't believe Americans have certain rights to self-defense, health care choice, choice of insurance and investment plans, child care decisions, school choice, transportation, property rights, earnings, inheritance or housing.

When our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are relegated to government edict, licensing, regulation and administrative review, it is time to throw off the yoke of an oppressive administration.

If you like your chains, vote for Mr. Gore.

NORMAN BALOG

Columbia, Md.

Joe Lieberman in no position to say others are ungodly

I would like to respond to vice presidential candidate Joseph I. Lieberman's intimations that, because of Texas Gov. George W. Bush's environmental stance, Mr. Bush cannot be a man of God ("Lieberman's view of faith hints that Bush is ungodly," Oct. 20).

Mr. Lieberman claims to be a faithful Orthodox Jew and a believer in God. Yet he allies himself with practices that are condemned by his faith (and Christianity) as sin.

The Democratic candidate believes that abortion should be legal and unrestricted. Orthodox Judaism says taking an innocent life is a sin against God, and that includes life in the womb. Mr. Lieberman also endorses protected status and special rights for homosexual behavior. Orthodox Judaism says this also is a sin.

St. Matthew 7:3-5 states:

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

"Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

"Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

Mr. Lieberman needs to look at his own actions before pronouncing that anyone else is "ungodly."

JENNIFER L. HARPER

New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Israeli activity in Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem just as unsettling

The article "Jewish settlers skeptical of Arafat's intentions for peace" (Oct. 16) highlights the situation of Israeli settlers in the Netzrim settlement in the Gaza Strip but omits several critical facts. In describing Netzarim settlement, where 50 Jewish families live surrounded by a sea of Palestinians, you fail to mention that Israeli settlements in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal according to international law and recognized as illegitimate by the world community. Gaza's 6,500 settlers, and the Israeli military in place to protect them, occupy 40 percent of Gaza's land, leaving Gaza's one million plus Palestinian population the remaining 60 percent. In true apartheid fashion, 40 percent of the land of Gaza is for Jews only.

Since the signing of Oslo accords in 1993, the Israeli settler population has grown from around 2,500 in Gaza to 6,500 and from 110,000 in the West Bank to 200,000. There are an additional 200,000 Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem. This increase, which has continued under Prime Minister Ehud Barak, exposes Israel's unwillingness to respect the land for peace formula, enshrined in U.N. resolution 242 and on which the peace talks were presumably based. Israel builds, in fact, to lay claim to the land and not to alleviate housing needs, as it claims, as around 25 percent of housing units in West Bank settlements and 50 percent in Gaza settlements are empty. Perhaps you should have asked if Palestinians are skeptical of Mr. Barak's intentions for peace.

MARGARET ZAKNOEN

Washington

New York 'fashionistas' dazzled by celebrity, Mrs. Clinton

The view that first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton may win the Senate race in New York is almost too much to bear ("Hillary coasting to victory," Op-Ed, Oct. 19). As a former resident of the state, I am appalled by New Yorkers' ignorance about Mrs. Clinton's tenure in the White House and their apathy about it. Many have never heard of Billy Dale and the White House travel office scandal; if they have, often they just don't care. During a recent trip to New York City, I was amazed at the dearth of political posters or buttons in support of either Rick Lazio or Mrs. Clinton. Apparently, the race is of little consequence or concern to the "sophisticated."

Unlike Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Lazio makes himself available on Sunday talk shows, can be approached in public, doesn't surround himself with a "palace guard" (the Secret Service), and refrains from using federal tax dollars to do his campaigning. To the "fashionistas," however, this is meaningless. New Yorkers are showing their worst side worshipping celebrity for celebrity's sake and ignoring integrity, decency, and honesty.

The cowardice of independent counsel Robert W. Ray is also beyond the pale ("Hillary role in firings identified," Oct. 19). Because he fears Washington's jury system and the Clintons' popularity, he is unwilling to do the right thing. If nothing else, going forward with charges that Mrs. Clinton gave "false testimony" and offered information that was "factually inaccurate" might at least wake up a few New York voters in November.

It is a tragedy, that after the Clinton administration dragged this nation through an impeachment, engaged in unnecessary military actions, set out to destroy law-abiding individuals, sold the White House and other venues for personal profit and manipulated the media in ways that would make dictators proud, Mrs. Clinton, a main architect of this so-called "most ethical administration in American history," may be rewarded with a powerful and influential position. If this comes to pass, we all should be ashamed.

ROSALIND ELLIS

Baltimore



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