Burt Prelutsky

I have a terrible confession to make. You see, even though I am not a hunter, never really considered Charlton Heston a very good actor and only recently joined the NRA—mainly so I could wear their cap and annoy my liberal acquaintances—I have no objection to my fellow citizens owning guns.

Understand, I am referring to decent, law-abiding people who realize that this is a rather violent society and that the police can't be everywhere at once. Without weapons, how are people supposed to protect themselves from rapists, killers and home invaders?

With a kazillion guns already in circulation, Brady Bill or no Brady Bill, I'm afraid we'll never again see the day that criminals have to make do with rocks and sharp sticks.

Oddly enough, it's often the very same people who get irate about their neighbors having the means to defend themselves who are the folks most opposed to mandatory sentences for gun-toting felons. It's as if they're against the possession of guns by amateurs but hate the idea of denying professionals the necessary tools of their trade.

However politically correct one chooses to be, the fact remains that in those states where people are allowed to carry weapons crime statistics plummet. And for once, statistics are borne out by common sense. After all, if you're a punk looking to mug someone, it figures you'll think twice if there's a good chance your intended victim is better armed than you.

But where guns are concerned, statistics and common sense rarely have the power to sway a liberal’s opinion. They simply won’t accept the idea that guns are ever used defensively to safeguard the innocent. So far as they’re concerned, the Founding Fathers were all drunk the day they drafted that part of the Bill of Rights having to do with bearing arms.

In terms of public relations, I think it would be wise if just once when some kid blasts a schoolmate Michael Moore and the rest of the anti-gun crowd didn't take such obvious delight in using the incident to beat the opposition over the head. In a nation of 300 million people, probably close to 10 percent of whom are here illegally, bad stuff is going to happen. It's a rotten shame, but it's unavoidable. Believe me, schoolyard bullies and math exams are a far bigger source of terror to most of our kids.