No More Handguns!


Special to USAfrica The Newspaper

President Bill Clinton has forced the pro-gun Republicans into a moral dilemma. They have been forced to admit that violence whether conducted by alienated high school students, hardened criminals, mentally disturbed people or innocent children playing with loaded weapons has reached alarming levels in this country.

President Bill Clinton who is concerned about salvaging his tarnished legacy has the opportunity to become one of America's greatest reformers of his generation.  There is no better time than now for the president to show real moral leadership and assert himself as the commander and chief. He should seize this moment and ban the general sale, manufacture and ownership of all handguns! He could do this through an executive order if need be.

The time is right. The Republicans are in political disarray and as they proved early in the summer of 1999 when they voted against the president's gun-control legislation. They also showed they would be hard pressed to organize real opposition to what has become one of the key moral issues of our time. Public sentiment is solid that something must be done. Yes; it would be a radical, drastic, bold and controversial move; but its the stuff that real visionary leadership is made out of. It's the kind of stuff that forges cultural reformations and social revolutions.

Note that I am not talking about taking guns from law enforcement, military or even collectors or sportsman; all who would be licensed and certified. And, I am not talking about taking guns from security guards, importers and manufacturers, all who also would be licensed. I am talking about your neighbors  who own   9mm carbine rifle s with laser sights or a .357 magnum assault pistol, or a AK-47 assault rifle, able to pierce armor with reloadable clips that hold as much as 40 rounds of bullets; or a simple .22 caliber handgun.

I know that the issues of the 2nd Amendment rights are raised, but logic, rationale and common senses makes clear that I am  not talking about disarming our well regulated state militia; which is necessary to the security of a free state, nor am I  trying to usurp the right of people to keep and bear arms for their protection when the state is no longer able to take care of them.   American law  and the enforcement of those laws renders the need for each individual being an army unto himself   an act of lawlessness. The preamble of the second amendment places gun ownership in the context of the raising of state militias. It specifies a right to bear arms, but also that firearms be, "well regulated."

I am not talking about shutting down the NRA, which is a legitimate American organization that have the constitutional right to assemble and conduct lawful social business, as well as be involved politically. I am not even saying that guns are the sole cause of the violent culture in which we live.

We all realize that the causes  of the American violent culture go far beyond the gun issue alone. What I am saying though is that we know  that guns do kill, and we must do something before one more American is killed senselessly. We need to be concern about a host of issues regarding America's gun culture; from the role that police play in selling seized weapons to secondary markets, to the dumping of unsafe guns here by Europeans and Asian companies.

It is the Chinese( who generally bar their citizens from owning guns) who sales to the U.S. about half of all the rifles in the country.

A Harris poll  taken before the Littleton Massacre revealed that 69 percent of Americans and 57 percent of gun owners want tighter guns laws.  In 1995, Newt Gingrich in one of his most asinine moments declared all gun-control legislation dead. The end result being 15 people join the dead of West Paducah, Jonesboro, Edinboro, and Springfield and an escalation of 60 million handguns in the hands of private American citizens. In 1992, Sen. John Chafee, a Republican from Rhode Island proposed a bill that would have banned handguns. It was radical and novel but it made so much sense and could have saved lives. Recently Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey again raised the issue, but to little avail, but then came Littleton.

In the blinding glare of Littleton they have no choice but to get over their macho, phallic Freudian hang-ups about guns and help to end this tragic chapter in American culture. There is no better time than now. While the Republicans are up against the wall,  the president  if by nothing else than executive order, should ban handguns.  At least until sensible, logical and real gun control legislation is passed.  Mr. president why not just do it!

Sanders, a Suffragan Bishop in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the world, is the founder and the pastor of the Emmanuel Temple church in Sandusky, Ohio. He has served in many leadership capacities in the organization that include national evangelist, international youth leader and missionary to West Africa.  He holds a Ph.D in American Culture Studies and served as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer at Universities in his area.  His commentary has also appeared in Emerge magazine and the USA Today newspaper. Sanders is currently finishing work on the first ever printed biography of the founder of the 20th Pentecostal Movement; William J. Seymour. He has  recently joined USAfrica The Newspaper, The Black Business Journal and as a contributing editor.

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