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June 02, 1981 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1981-06-02

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4

pinion
Page 6 Tuesday, June 2, 1981 The Michigan Daily

The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCI, No. 19-S
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Who cares?
T MIGHT SEEM to many a small matter
that Michigan's thousands of welfare
recipients will receive approximately five per-
cent fewer benefits beginning this month.
Such a reduction might .not be felt by a cor-
porate executive, a cabinet member, a
president. Yet for those whose well-being
depends on it, that five percent could make the
difference between a child eating properly or
going to bed hungry.
Of course, compassion isn't exactly an "in"
concept these days. The state legislature has, in
the interests of belt-tightening, decreed that the
maximum Aid to Dependent Children grant (to
a family of four) be chopped from $573 a month
to $530; that the maximum general assistance
grant be shrunk from $295 monthly to $265.
These sober totals belie the chic and cruel
belief that most welfare beneficiaries live high
on the hog-collecting their checks, thenl
cruising home in their plush Cadillacs to air-
conditioned penthouses. Even at the original
assistance rates, a family of four would at best
eke out a grim, spartan subsistence-minus
any of the necessary diversions that make like
bearable.
It would be nice if our assorted legislatures
across America could again view poverty in
terms of human suffering rather than
budgetary percentages. Last year a conser-
vative congressman accepted a challenge to
live four months at the poverty level; within
one month he had radically altered all his
previous notions about "welfare chiselers."
Perhaps we should all try such a cure-it
might prove enough to humble even a
president.

Guns: Law and illogic
By Fred Shill It is currently illegal for those tributions from the NRA. Just
engaged in the business of returning the favor.
Are we a sick nation? Are we dealing in guns to do so without a That list of sponsors, by the
committing moral suicide, license; hence the arrests of no way, is growing longer every
holding handguns poised at our doubt legitimate gun collectors 'day. A similar bill introduced by
temples and waiting for them to who unwittingly sold many of the same gentlemen last year
go off? their guns in violation of the law. provoked a cheerful stampede of
So it would seem. Many people The cure: McClure-Volkmer cosponsors - 182 in the House
were mystified by the defines "engaged in the and 61 in the Senate. It failed to
widespread anguish over the business" of dealing to include pass only because Senator Ed-
murder of John Lennon in part only those who devote time and ward Kennedy, who has reason to
because they could not see that
much of the grief and anger was
attributable to the suicidal
stupidity of the act. Mark David
Chapman walked into a store,
bought a gun, flew to New York,
and destroyed John Lennon. Just
like that.
Oh, but he's sick, people said,
and they were right not to make
him an object of hatred. But
who's sicker, the criminally in-
sane man or the society that
provides him with a quick-and-
easy meansmto succumh to his
illness? My vote goes to society,
because it (theoretically) has full
use of its senses.
CONGRESS HAS responded to-\
the shootings of Lennon and
President Reagan with a widely-
supported bill known as the Mc-
Clure-Volkmer Bill. If -passed,
this act will substantially weaken
the 1968 Gun Control Act, a
statute already weak enough to
allow for the purchase of Satur-
day Night Specials by known
screwballs such as John Hin-
ckley.
Congressman Harold Volkmer
(R-Mo.) claims McClure-Volk- labor to the selling of guns with fear loose gun control laws, was
mer is merely "aimed at com- the object of making a profit. chairman of the Senate Judiciary
bating civil liberties abuses by That means you can sell that Committee, through which the
the Bureau of Alcohol. Tobacco, rusty old pistol without violating bill must pass. Kennedy
and Firearms (BATF) which en- gun laws. So can the mafiosa pigeonholed it.
forces existing gun laws." Most down the street. So can the heroin THANKS TO THE national
of these "abuses" involve what addict next door. And all of you dementia of November 4 past,
Volkmer likes to call entrapment can sell to anyone you want, as Strom Thurmond now chairs that
and the BATF's alleged habit of long as you do not "willfully" committee. After the
not returning guns to their violate provisions to sell guns to assassination attempt on
owners even after they have been the mentally lacking or to felons. President Reagan, Thurmond
acquitted of wrongdoing. THE BILL ALSO gives a whole made some feeble noises about

ENTRANCE'
LOBBY
SENATE CHAMBER
HOUSE
CHAMBER EXIT
ROTUNDA
A Visitors' Guide to
THE UNITED STATES CAPITOL
(A wholly-owned subsidiary of the YOU ARE
National Rifle Association) HERE

rnewaws umg of tissue tore-
defining just who can and cannot
buy a gun. A felon, the bill
reasons, is someone who have
been convicted of a crime
therefore, it would be perfectly
legal to sell a handgun to a person
indicted for a crime, or to a per-
son awaiting trial for a crime -
even if they were roaming the
countryside, free on bail. Thank
you, Mr. Volkmer.
Note that the thrust of the bill is
to "protect" gun owners; this is
no accident. The National Rifle
Association heavily endorses this
bill; just by coincidence, they
also heavily endorsed Mr. Volk-
mer, contributing over $32,000 to
his .most recent congressional
campaign. The list of the bill's
sponsors is dotted with those who
have received substantial con-

suppo rting guIo[ro, JUL ne
has sided with the NRA
repeatedly in the past.
This year, McClure-Volkmer
already has some 120 cosponsors
in the House and 40 in the Senate
(by the most recent count).
Volkmer's aides confidently
predict that they will be up to last
year's strength by the time the
bill reaches committee.
The bill may yet be headed off
at the pass, for reasons that will
be disclosed in tomorrow's
column. But support for the bill is*
irrationally strong. We are
holding a gun to our heads, and it
may well go off.
(Part one of a two-part story.)
Fred Schill is a staff writer
for the Michigan Daily.

Letters to the Daily should be typed, triple-spaced,
with inch margins. All submissions must be signed
by the individual author(s).

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