- The Washington Times - Friday, April 28, 2000

Monday after Easter was African-American Family Day at the National Zoo. It was a day marked by mob fistfights and a shooting spree at the zoo's entrance. Seven were injured by the gunfire, one critically. A 16-year-old has been arrested and charged with the shootings.

Guns, of course, were blamed for the violence that marred African-American Family Day. The Second Amendment's enemies are using the shootings to call for more gun control.

In D.C. guns are already controlled. It is illegal to have an unlicensed pistol. It is illegal for teen-agers to have guns. It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon. It is illegal to discharge a weapon in public. It is illegal to shoot someone. There are probably zillions of laws already on the books against what happened on African-American Family Day.

The laws didn't do any good. The problem is human behavior, not the absence of gun control laws. This is so obvious it makes a person wonder what is the gun-controllers' real agenda.

The Netherlands is known for its strict gun-control laws. But these laws did not stop a Dutch student from opening fire last December with a banned pistol inside a high school and wounding five persons.

In England, the only guns allowed are single- and double-barreled shotguns and birdshot. Despite the prohibition against other weapons, police discovered submachine guns were being sold on London street corners. The street vendors were being supplied from a warehouse full of smuggled weapons.

Guns are banned, but violence in Britain has increased. As the Sunday Times put it recently, "Britons use knives." A London headmaster was stabbed to death when he tried to stop a fight outside his school. A recent study of 1,000 children in Scottish schools found that 1 boy in 3 and 1 girl in 12 carried weapons-knives, machetes, razors, baseball bats and hammers.

British teen-agers knife one another in discos. New laws have been passed giving police the power to search anyone for knives in designated areas.

When hardware stores are added to the gun ban, people will kill each other with pointed sticks and slings like David used against Goliath. Or they will rob armories and police stations. For example, state police offices in Virginia and North Carolina are experiencing a spate of robberies. The thieves carry off guns and confiscated drugs.

The National Rifle Association is exactly correct: "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." This seems to be what the liberals want. It is part of their income redistribution policy. Once law-abiding people are disarmed, burglaries will explode.

It has happened in England. On April 22, the London Telegraph published a letter from Scott Quinney, who complained that Britain's "disarmed subjects cower in their homes," while thugs prey upon them with impunity.

Judging from a recent case, Mr. Quinney would seem to have a point. On April 19, Tony Martin, a Norfolk, England, farmer was sentenced to life in prison for killing a burglar and wounding another who broke into his home.

Mr. Martin was found guilty of using "unreasonable force" to protect his home.

He had been burgled many times and had suffered many losses from his firm and his antiques-filled home. The police were able to turn this against him. They argued Martin had laid in wait for the thieves and shot in retribution. Moreover, he had an illegal shotgun, a pump-action capable of more than two shots.

Mr. Quinney says, "Britain is reverting to savagery." The population is disarmed, but police "themselves have resorted increasingly to firearms and armor. They have retreated to their command centers, leaving the population defenseless."

This will be our own fate once Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat, Sarah Brady and Bill Clinton take away our guns.

Paul Craig Roberts is a columnist for The Washington Times and is nationally syndicated.

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