Paul Helmke, former Fort Wayne mayor and currently head of the Brady Campaign, spoke in Akron, Ohio, and Chad D. Baus of the Buckeye Firearms Association, referencing the story in the Beacon-Journal, takes him to task on the usual charge of using misleading facts and statistics. He also says Helkme inadvertently spoke the truth a couple of times. For one thing, Helmke says that felons get guns by stealing them, and if ":even he admits" the criminals avoid the gun control laws "his organization advocates," one wonders "why they continue to press for more laws." And then:
The newspaper published another slip at the conclusion of the article, quoting him as saying "Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Guns don't fire by themselves."
There you have it - Paul Helmke admits what pro-gun advocates - who have worked long and hard to fight the Brady Campaign on their "handgun control" mission - have been saying for years! So will Helmke decide to restructure his organization from its current focus on blaming guns and law-abiding citizens to one focused on keeping criminals behind bars?
I won't hold my breath.
Even as a supporter of gun rights, I get a little tired of that "guns don't -- people do" boilerplate advocacy. It's just a clever way (well, once upon a time it was clever) of stating the obvious point that guns are inanimate objects that can be used or misused. As Helmke demonstrates, that fact can also be used to support the gun-control side's position.
The post also cites researcher Howard Nemerov, who uses crime statistics in an attempt to show that Fort Wayne did a lot worse than the nation or the state in controlling violent crime during Helmke's last five years as mayor. He was mayor for 12 years, though; does that mean the city did better on violent crime for his first seven? In any case, it's just an ad hominem sideshow that does little to advance the argument.
What needs to be said over and over again is that Helmke is simply wrong -- and gun advocates right -- about the fundamental point. Unless we can wipe all knowledge of guns from the human consciousness, there will be guns, and the bad guys will always find a way go get them. Those pushing gun-control laws rightly recognize that there is a war going on, but their efforts, if successful, would just disarm the wrong side. "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" is also boilerplate advocacy that was clever once upon a time, but it still has the power of speaking the plain truth.