EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 21, 2013

Editorial: ‘Conversation’ on guns was over before it started

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — In the wake of the terrible massacre of innocent children in Newtown, Conn., we were told we needed to have a national conversation on guns.

There has been no conversation. Instead, we’re getting a lecture.

Liberals, who believe that government intervention is the solution to all of life’s problems, need to feel good about themselves. So once more, law-abiding citizens who hold beliefs counter to those held by liberals must be humiliated and punished.

It’s for the good of the nation — and more importantly, the children.

That’s the same excuse used by tyrants through the ages as they stripped away the rights of their people.

New York provides the earliest examples of where this “conversation” is heading.

In the suburbs north of New York City, the Journal News newspaper took it upon itself to publish an interactive map revealing the names and addresses of gun permit holders in its coverage area. These people had committed no crimes. They had merely endured the arduous process of licensing themselves to be legal owners of firearms.

Journal News executives justified this egregious abuse of their First Amendment rights by claiming that such information is a matter of public record. Indeed, it was at the time the story was published. But publishing the information served no purpose other than to advance the newspaper’s anti-gun agenda through the public shaming of those bold enough to exercise their constitutional rights. The publication was a shameful abrogation of a newspaper’s responsibility to its readers.

Already, two homes included on the list have been burglarized and the homeowners’ guns taken or targeted. There will surely be more to follow.

Last week, leaders of the New York State Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo worked behind the scenes to broker a deal to toughen the state’s already restrictive gun laws. Among its many provisions, the bill cuts the magazine size limit from 10 to seven rounds and expands the definition of what makes a gun an “assault weapon.”

There was no “conversation” on these sweeping limitations on the rights of gun owners. They were rushed through the Assembly and immediately signed by Cuomo.

That urgency is the hallmark of the current gun-control push. Advocates want new restrictions passed before the emotions provoked by the Newtown massacre fade. They don’t want a reasoned discussion of what new gun measures might be helpful in reducing crime. They want hastily written, poorly thought-out restrictions passed in a climate of panic and fear.

Using children as props to promote that climate of panic and fear is particularly reprehensible. But it is not surprising that our demagogue-in-chief, President Obama, surrounded himself with children as he signed executive orders and urged Congress to pass new gun-control measures.

When gun-control advocates begin by questioning their opponents’ concern for children’s safety, they betray their lack of interest in having a conversation at all.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick wants to close “loopholes” in what is already one of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws. Patrick’s bill would limit gun purchases to one per month and limit access to “high-powered” ammunition. A proposed competing bill from Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, would require gun owners to buy liability insurance and grant regulators access to all their mental health records.

None of these feel-good measures would have stopped Adam Lanza from going on his murderous rampage in Newtown. He owned none of the guns he used.

Nor would the restoration of the assault weapons ban advocated by President Obama have stopped him. The ban didn’t prevent the Columbine massacre in 1999. Why does anyone believe it would work now?

There is no desire on the part of gun-control advocates to have any sort of conversation at all. They merely want to harangue law-abiding citizens who disagree with them with a lecture on how evil and immoral they are. And when the lecture is over, the punishment will begin.

These measures are all about the liberal urge to “do something” in the wake of tragedy. To whom they do it is not their concern.