- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The gun-control debate is being resurrected in the District because of the legal action of six residents who contend they would feel safer in their homes if they were permitted to own an instrument of persuasion.

City residents, by a law enacted in 1976 by the D.C. Council, are not allowed to own handguns.

In all that time, of course, the feel-good legislation has had minimum effect, if that, on the flow of illegal firearms into the city and the spilling of blood. The District routinely ranks among the nation’s most violent cities and has held claim as the murder capital of the United States in some years.

City leaders inevitably blame this appalling fact on the more permissive gun-control laws of Maryland and Virginia, which sounds almost convincing until you recognize a fundamental flaw in their argument.

Bad guys are bad guys.

Bad guys do not follow the law.

If bad guys did follow the law, they would not be bad guys. See how simple that is?

Here is how it works: If you are applying to be a bad guy, you are obligated to put your pathological disinterest in laws at the top of your resume. Otherwise, you would have no real chance to be hired as a good bad guy. You would be encouraged to become an illegal tow-truck operator instead.

Anyway, the basic lawlessness of the bad guy is invariably left out of the gun-control debate by those who blame Maryland and Virginia for the carnage that plagues the city. The disconnect is fairly pronounced, perhaps because of the implied hopelessness of it.

Public officials are in the business of pretending to have all the answers. You are not going to have a good-press day if you say bad guys are going to do what bad guys do until they are removed from the streets. No, the way to have a good-press day if you are a public official is to say the bad guy would not be a bad guy if it weren’t for Maryland and Virginia.

It is an interesting proposition, to say the least, in the company of the 400-pound person who claims to be a victim of McDonald’s.

By the time a bad guy has taken up the bad-guy profession, the bad guy has made a conscious decision not to be concerned with health benefits, a retirement plan, stock options and the like.

Maybe the bad guy lacked strong parental or religious guidance while growing up. Maybe the bad guy slipped through the cracks of the inept D.C. public school system. Maybe the bad guy never connected with that one person in the community who could show him a better way. Who really can quantify all the variables in a person’s life?

Take the antithetical paths of the Bulger brothers in Massachusetts. William Bulger is the president of the University of Massachusetts, while James “Whitey” Bulger is a fugitive being sought in connection with 21 murders.

Whatever the genesis of a bad guy, the bad guy is beyond the grasp of gun-control legislation until he is apprehended.

Let’s imagine a nation in which it was illegal to own all types of guns.

What would this do to the bad guy’s quality of life? Would he then be unarmed and thus unable to kill?

If the drug trade is any guide, the bad guy merely would have another black-market industry to exploit. The bad guy would have plenty of guns at his disposal, plus a thriving business, and the U.S. government would have the additional political headache of some Third World country becoming our arms supplier.

The only one who possibly would benefit from this legislation is Bambi, and even that is debatable. Although it would be illegal for sportsmen to cull the thriving deer herds in this hypothetical world, the greater number of Bambis might be held in check by the automobile and an overforaged land.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a gun enthusiast. I do not own a gun. I have never shot Bambi, not even once, although I have had four or five vehicular entanglements with Bambi over the years, most recently last fall on a well-traveled highway. Go figure.

There are those folks who get struck by lightning every couple of years, and there is one dolt on the local roadways who gets struck by Bambi every couple of years.

You are absolutely right. It is the fault of Maryland and Virginia.


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