Saturday, May 19, 2001

The “Million” Mom March fell about 999,800 bodies short this year. Rosie ODonnell, a leading anti-gun loudmouth who emceed last years march and later sought armed security guards for her own children, was a no-show at the pathetically attended protest in D.C. Similar rallies across the country also fizzled, drawing sparse crowds of liberal activists still sullenly opposed to the Second Amendment.

The measly march´s message rang loud and clear: Gun-control extremism is a dying movement. Unfortunately, the White House didn´t hear it.

In Philadelphia this week, President Bush enthusiastically unveiled “Project Safe.” It´s a new gun-policy initiative that will involve gobs of new federal spending and an “unprecedented partnership between all levels of government.” Unprecedented? Yikes. Gun owners, watch your wallets and your holsters.

The Bush package includes several pet causes of the gun-control lobby, including $75 million for gun locks; $15.3 million for 113 new federal attorneys to serve as full-time gun prosecutors; and $19.1 million to expand a program by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms aimed at preventing youths from obtaining guns. Although Mr. Bush stressed that he simply wants to “enforce existing laws,” the fine print of Project Safe echoes the gun-grabbing Left´s call to ban the importation of high-capacity ammunition clips.

There are already 30,000 gun laws on the books. Passing one more law banning ammo clips won´t do diddly to reduce gun violence. And I´ll bet my .38 that those 113 new federal bureaucrats, under pressure to justify their jobs, will spend most of their day chasing after gun owners guilty of technical violations not violent crimes.

Kinder Gentler Republicans like Mr. Bush who took up the compromise banner of “enforcing existing laws” have painted themselves into a rhetorical corner. Most of those laws are ineffective in the fight against crime. Instead, they are bureaucratic obstacles that make it unreasonably if not unconstitutionally difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase, store and modify guns for protection. Those laws need to be repealed, not enforced.

Mr. Bush this week cited well-worn anti-gun statistics and condemned the “unacceptable” number of fatal shooting deaths in the United States. But like the liberal anti-gun lobby, the Republican president was silent about the untold number of gun shootings committed every year in self-defense. Just two weeks ago, a 12-year-old girl in Clarksdale, Miss., saved her mother´s life when she shot and killed an abusive ex-boyfriend who had forced his way into the apartment and started choking her mom. Detective Danny Hill of the Clarksdale Police Department said the brave girl had “heard the commotion and she knew from past experience what was going on.”

So did a Tacoma, Wash., woman who saved her own life in late April after shooting a former boyfriend who invaded her home in violation of two restraining orders. According to police reports, the man had two convictions for domestic violence against the woman over the past year. When he threatened to kill her after breaking into her home, she ran to her bedroom where she kept a handgun and fired one fatal shot at him.

And in Colorado this week, a trial date was finally set for a serial rapist whose terrorism against elderly women ended only after 72-year-old Jean Zamarripa shot him after he broke into her home last fall. When she heard a noise in the backyard, Mrs. Zamarripa grabbed her loaded .38-caliber revolver. She fired four times when the intruder rammed his shoulder into her back door. “I´m just a little grandmother, and I mind my own business,” Mrs. Zamarripa, a retired medical assistant, told the Associated Press. “What would I have done if I hadn´t had my gun? I would have been just another statistic.”

What will it take for Beltway Republicans to stop their Clintonesque pandering to Hollywood soccer moms and start representing us gun-owning mammas who don´t have Secret Service protection and can´t afford to hire armed personal security guards? We refuse to be the statistics you ignore.

Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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