Friday, July 07, 2006

Eager Helpers for the Gun Lobby

The New York Times
Eager Helpers for the Gun Lobby

Childproof trigger locks on handguns should rank somewhere near mom and apple pie as a measure of the nation's wholesome dedication to life. But not in the House of Representatives, where the gun lobby cowed lawmakers into actually barring the use of federal funds to enforce an existing law that requires child trigger locks to be sold with all handguns. This late-night treachery just before the July 4 recess means that federal agents will not have the resources to confront one of the deadliest facts of American family life: 10 young people die each day in gun homicides, suicides and accidents.

The rate of firearm death for children 14 years and under is almost 12 times higher in this country than in 25 other industrialized nations combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet there was the law-and-order majority caving in to the gun lobby.

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, the Colorado Republican who dared to put this proposal on the floor, offered a shabby logic: locks on weapons don't stop the slaying and maiming of children, they only make "personal protection more costly."

She drew 42 Democrats to join 188 Republicans in the majority with an argument that summoned an old "Saturday Night Live" skit about a sleazy toy dealer peddling lethal toys to children.

"Many things around the home are dangerous when used without proper instructions or supervision," Ms. Musgrave said. "But it is not the government's job or responsibility to mandate every conceivable protective mechanism imaginable."

Surely the Senate will not endorse this nonsense when it arrives from the House.