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In Wake of Tragedy, It's 'the Usual Stink'

April 01, 1998|ART BUCHWALD

When five people were killed in Jonesboro, Ark., and 11 wounded, I immediately called the "Guns R Us" hotline. This is where you can get information on gun accidents from a source more sympathetic to handguns than the gun-control fanatics.

"What happened?" I asked the man on the other end of the line.

"Some children were out looking for deer and shot some students instead. It happens."

"But apparently they weren't looking for game. They wanted to shoot people."

"That's what the newspapers say, but there is always another side to the story. Look, we can't keep tabs on every child in school. We're certainly not going to make these kids who did the shooting our poster boys, but, at the same time, we're not going to stop young men from defending themselves."

"How did the membership of Guns R Us react?"

"They were horrified. They knew that there would be the usual stink when someone gets killed with a semiautomatic. It makes us look bad."

"Besides saying that you're sorry, what do you plan to do?"

"Raise dues for members of the gun lobby. This one could get the public's attention, and the only way we can stop legislation is to plead for money to keep our legislators in line."

I said, "I'll say this for you--you're really on the ball. The antigun people haven't been heard from at all."

"That's why we get more respect from Congress. Every dollar we spend on legislation will protect an innocent gun owner from becoming wounded by what happened in Jonesboro."

"Would it make any sense to pass a law forbidding 13-year-olds to carry guns?"

"No, because then next year they would raise it to 14-year-olds, then 15-year-olds, and pretty soon no one could carry a gun."

"One more question."

"Could I call you back? I have Charlton Heston on hold."

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