Souvenir firearms

John McCaslin
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Posted: Sep 02, 2002 12:00 AM
A bill just introduced in Congress would allow war veterans to keep certain firearms brought home as souvenirs. "We should not deny them a cherished souvenir because of a misunderstood law," says Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah, who with fellow Republican Rep. Jim Gibbons of Nevada introduced the Veterans' Heritage Firearms Act of 2002. Cannon says many veterans, including 134,102 in his state of Utah, could face prison and fines for possessing war-trophy machine guns that are not registered. The guns are illegal, and veterans or their family members are required to surrender them to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for destruction. If the legislation is enacted, veterans will have 90 days to register the guns. To qualify, the souvenirs would have to have been be acquired before Oct. 31, 1967, by a member of the armed forces while stationed outside the United States. HOLD THE LETTUCE "They say an army marches on its stomach," observes Christopher Horner, counsel to the Cooler Heads Coalition at Washington's Competitive Enterprise Institute, who has traveled to Johannesburg to observe 10 days of planet planning at the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). And oh, what a hypocritical planet it is. "The army of anti-globalization youths slouched patiently in line at the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport's Burger King franchise prior to boarding their modern 747," Mr. Horner observes. "Five feet away stood a forlorn entrepreneur hawking vegetable dishes." You mean nobody paid Mr. Vegetable a visit? "The vegetable hawker observed, with equal if better postured and groomed patience, as the unwashed transferred fistfuls of parental wealth - against which they are traveling thousands of miles to deplore - to the enemy," Mr. Horner says. "Sun Tzu presciently scribbled something memorable about just such a scene in 'The Art of War.'" Were this American bunch any more loyal to their cause after touching down in Africa? "Upon arrival, the committed anti-globalization army dutifully climbed into SUVs to travel in comfort and safety, with fewer trips. To the Marriott," he reveals. "No one appeared to tally the carbon tithe they might be incurring to the Johannesburg summit and its high-profile admission of self-loathing, the 'CO2 Legacy Project.' "Under this unique penance, WSSD attendees pay into a fund to offset the carbon dioxide emissions incurred in traveling here to denounce carbon dioxide emissions," Horner explains. KEEP YOUR COMMODE A surprise from the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, compliments of what our colleague indelicately - therefore, accurately - described as an attempt to employ "Green Uncle Toms." "World green superstars who grab the mike to talk about the horrors of plumbing," explains Christopher Horner of Washington's Competitive Enterprise Institute, who's in South Africa for this largest of all U.N. summits. "Pardon us for asking, but when, offered the option, have the poor turned down the amenities of a wealthier society?" Try now. Horner tells this column of a surprising protest rally by scores of farmers from Africa and other lesser developed countries: "Over two-dozen groups of agricultural workers - actual non-bureaucrats, non-whiny-privileged-youths - trying to make a living, these 'Sustainable Development Network' speakers admonished the caviar-slurping U.N. bureaucrats in attendance to get out of their way." "And they seem sincere. One speaker passed a promising litmus test, shouting 'We don't need your money' - to cheers," Horner notes. "Earlier, one woman here raged against 'the pernicious introduction of the flush toilet' as a byproduct of wealth creation. This at a taped panel discussion for a BBC/PBS production hosted by, you guessed it, Bill Moyers." ROYAL RUMBLE The Southeastern Legal Foundation Wednesday called on Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan to obey the law and seek congressional approval before accepting an honorary knighthood from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. Citing Art. I, Sect. 9, of the Constitution, the Atlanta-based conservative public interest law firm said our Founding Fathers unequivocally stated that no U.S. officeholder or employee could accept any present or title from a king, prince, or foreign state without the consent of Congress. The Federal Reserve quickly refuted SLF's contention, saying that the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act allows such an honorary award for meritorious performance, and that the Justice Department agrees. Greenspan, the nation's head for fiscal and monetary policy, is slated to receive his knighthood this fall. The queen selected Greenspan for his "outstanding contribution to the global economy and the benefit the UK has received from his wisdom." Federal Reserve spokesman Michelle Smith said other U.S. citizens knighted, even while serving the country's armed forces, include Gen. Wesley Clark and Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf.