Commenting on the obstructing of the Brady bill in the Senate, President Clinton said Tuesday, "I believe in miracles." That's probably what will be needed to change the minds of the small group of Senate Republicans who have been blocking this modest measure of gun control.
The legislation is stuck because it was sabotaged with unacceptable amendments after it cleared both the House and the Senate and was sent to a conference committee.
Too bad the senators involved don't believe in representative government: Every poll shows the American people overwhelmingly support Brady. So do most members of Congress. As violent crime escalates across the nation--especially in Los Angeles and other major cities--the question of whether to support this bill should be a no-brainer.
All the bill does is impose a mandatory national five-day period between the purchase and delivery of a handgun. That's it. Such a waiting period would give law enforcement authorities time to check handgun buyers for a criminal record or history of mental instability. Does anyone want someone who served time for murder walking into a sporting goods store and buying a pistol?
Too bad the handful of senators still doing their Alamo-style number against even rudimentary gun control reform aren't as realistic as the Winchester Ammunition Co. of East Alton, Ill. Faced with intense public pressure, it announced Monday that it was voluntarily withdrawing from the market its infamous Black Talon bullet, a monstrous little shard of carefully designed weaponry that explodes inside the human body and causes unimaginable horrors. The bullet will be sold only to law enforcement agencies.
"This action is being taken," said a company spokesman, "because Black Talon ammunition is becoming a focal point for broader issues that are well beyond the control of Winchester Ammunition."
More ammunition makers should follow Winchester's lead and drop from public distribution all such bullets. The company has made a worthy gesture.
Now if only the minority Republicans in the Senate can be induced, in the spirit of public interest, to make an obstruction-breaking gesture.