This page is part of a larger section on bogus quotes including the Sarah Brady quote.
The following was obtained from the Web:
[Congressional Record: May 5, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
Statement Opposing Ban on Assault Weapons
(By Joel Carlston, Wyoming President of Americans Against Gun Control
Right now this body is considering a ban on certain semi-
automatic weapons. This begs the question, ``Why a ban?''
The answer, obviously a political one, is ``We need to
address crime in this Nation and protect the people of the
United States. Banning semi-automatic weapons is a step in
the right direction.''
The facts differ with this political answer. Ninety-eight
percent of serious crimes do not involve firearms. Thus, a
complete weapons ban could at best address only 2 percent of
the problem. In fact, more kids get killed playing little
league baseball than from assault weapons. Should we ban
little league baseball?
What about assault weapons and crime? Florida State
University criminology professor Gary Kleck estimates that
less than .5 percent of all violent crimes involve so-called
Chicago is a case in point. In 1993, there were over 940
homicides. More than 30 percent were police shootings,
another 30 percent were suicides, and not one homicide
involved the use of a semiautomatic rifle. Further, over one
hundred homicides were committed with the use of duct tape
and hose, i.e. strangulation. Perhaps, we would be more
effective in addressing crime if we were to ban hose or at
least specify a five-day waiting period for the purchase
Consider this. Of all weapons confiscated by law
enforcement in this Nation, only 4 percent were assault
weapons. Of that 4 percent, 87 percent were confiscated in
searches, not used in the commission of any crime.
We've got to get serious about crime. But a weapons ban is
like shooting in the dark. History assures us the only people
affected by the ban are honest folks--the potential victims--
not the criminals. In reality, we're disarming the law-
abiding, making them easy targets for violent criminals who
roam our streets at will.
Why do criminals roam the streets? Because we waste our
valuable time on useless Brady bills, weapons bans and other
gun confiscation measures instead of addressing crime as
Patrick Purdy is an example of the ineffectiveness of gun
control laws and the need to address crime itself. Purdy, you
will recall, was the crazed madman who gunned down students
in a California school playground.
Mr. Purdy's record speaks for itself. He spent several
months in a California psychiatric hospital. He had seven
prior felony arrests, four of which were firearms related. On
Purdy's last arrest, a police psychiatrist stated that Purdy
was a menace to himself and to society. Yet, each of these
felonies were plea-bargained down to misdemeanors and Purdy
was released. Consequently, as a result of our revolving door
justice system, Mr. Purdy was legally allowed to purchase
weapons--having complied with California's 15-day waiting
period--even though his record clearly showed his instability
and criminal intent. The rest is history--a tragic but real
example of the ineffectiveness of gun control laws.
To further illustrate, let's look at States which have
implemented some form of gun control:
New Jersey: 1967-1989--violent crime has increased 223
percent. The Attorney General's office reports ``There is not
a really high percentage of crimes committed with assault
weapons.'' Only 1 percent of any kind of rifle was used in
homicides from 1987-1992, compared to knives (28 percent),
and feet (11 percent). This tells us that it is not the
configuration of the weapon which makes it an assault weapon,
but the intent of the assailant wielding it.
Massachusetts: 1967-89--violent crime has increased 429%.
1986-91--only 0.5% of homicides involved are ``assault
Connecticut: 1967-89--violent crime has increased 434
percent. Connecticut law enforcement reports no assault
weapons homicides through 1991. And of the 11,000 weapons
seized by police between 1988 and 1992, only 1.8 percent were
``Has crime decreased anywhere in the United States?'' you
In April 1982, Kennesaw, Georgia, enacted a law requiring
every household to own a firearm, with the exception of
criminals and those with religious objections. In only 10
months, residential burglary dropped an astounding 89
percent. In 1991, not one murder occurred in this suburb of
In contrast, our city here in the District of Columbia has
one of the most restrictive gun laws making it virtually
impossible for law-abiding citizens to own guns. From 1975 to
1991, Washington, DC's murder rate rose 134 percent while the
rest of the Nation experienced a 2-percent decline.
Why, then, if gun control laws are so ineffective at
stopping crime, are we spending so much time on such bills? I
Perhaps it's the politically correct thing to do. Pass laws
banning weapons, attempting to convince our constituents
we're tough on crime. I'm afraid they won't buy that
argument, especially when they find out we took their most
effective means of self-defense away.
Perhaps there are other agencies. In a previous attempt to
pass legislation similar to what we're considering here,
Sarah Brady told Howard Metzenbaum, ``Our task of creating a
socialist America can only succeed when those who would
resist us have been totally disarmed.''
Those are strong words. Frightening words. But Brady's
right. The protection of the American citizen's rights,
including yours and my rights, is directly linked to our
Right to Keep and Bear Arms!
Mind you, Brady is not the first to realize the importance
of gun ownership. Thomas Jefferson said, ``No free man shall
ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for
the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as
a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in
government.'' James Madison said, ``Americans need never fear
their government because of the advantage of being armed,
which the Americans posses over the people of almost every
Former President Reagan said, ``there are only two things
that make people do right--love of God and fear of
punishment.'' Criminals don't regard God, so we must instill
the fear of punishment in them.
The reason crime is so rampant is because is pays and pays
big. It's our job to remove the profit, not the victim's most
effective means of defense.
Our problem is we don't punish the criminal. According to a
study by the National Center of Policy Analysis, a person who
committed a serious crime in 1990 could expect to spend only
eight days in prison on the average.
Here's the breakdown: A person committing murder could
expect to spend 1.8 years in prison; for rape--60 days;
robbery--23 days; arson--6.7 days; aggravated assault--6.4
days and for auto theft--a measly day and a half!
It's a known fact that repeat offenders commit the majority
of violent crimes. It's been reported that murder is mainly
one criminal killing another. 85% of the murders have past
arrest records and 61% of the victims have past arrest
Why is this happening? Because our criminal justice system
is turning 90% of the felons loose without them having to
spend a single day in jail. Each year, 60,000 felons, like
Patrick Purdy, are plea-bargained, placed on probation and
Additionally, Reader's Digest reports that only 2.8 cents
of every dollar we allocate for building prisons actually
goes toward prison construction. I suggest we find ways to
put more actual dollars into prison buildings and get
predators like Patrick Purdy off the streets permanently.
No ``assault'' or any other type of firearms has ever, of
it's own volition, committed a crime. Therefore to ban a tool
will only result in the criminal finding another tool and
using it. And it's doubtful any ban would stop criminals from
getting the weapons they want. As the saying goes. ``When
guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.''
If we foolishly persist in banning these weapons from law-
abiding citizens (which is exactly what this bill will do),
we are playing right into the hands of criminals by disarming
millions of law-abiding Americans, making them extremely
vulnerable to criminal attack.
Further, we are depriving these same law-abiding Americans
a constitutional right--a right each of us here swore to
protect when members took office.
So if you vote for this gun prohibition bill, when you know
this ban/prohibition will do nothing to stop crime, then be
honest enough to tell your constituents you voted for gun
prohibition for no good reason other than you wanted . . .
you wanted . . . to take firearms away from the American