Time 1968: The Gun In America

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Chuckles the Clown

Aug 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/5/99
Time Magazine

The Gun In America

"In U.S. folklore, nothing has been more romanticized than guns and the
larger-than-life men who wielded them."

SPECIAL REPORT JUNE 21, 1968 VOL. 91, NO. 25

FORGET the democratic processes, the judicial system and the talent for organization
that have long been the distinctive marks of the U.S. Forget, too, the affluence
(vast, if still not general enough) and the fundamental respect for law by most

Remember, instead, the Gun.

That is how much of the world beyond its borders feels about the U.S. today. All too
widely, the country is regarded as a blood-drenched, continent-wide shooting range
where toddlers blast off with real rifles, housewives pack pearl-handled revolvers,
and political assassins stalk their victims at will.

The image, of course, is wildly overblown, but America's own mythmakers are largely
to blame. In U.S. folklore, nothing has been more romanticized than guns and the
larger-than-life men who wielded them. From the nation's beginnings, in fact and
fiction, the gun as been provider and protector. The Pilgrim gained a foothold with
his harquebus. A legion of loners won the West with Colt .45 Peacemakers holstered at
their hips or Winchester 73 repeaters cradled in their arms.

In Thrall.

Often as not, the frontiersman was an antisocial misfit who helped create a climate
of barbaric lawlessness. No matter. Daniel Boone and Buffalo Bill, Jesse James and
Billy the Kid, hero and villain alike, all were men of the gun and all were idolized.
"Have gun, will travel" was more than a catch phrase. It was a way of life. Even
after the frontier reached its limits, the myths lingered and the legends multiplied,
first in dime novels, later in movies and on TV. Americans flowed into great cities,
but still they remained in thrall to the mystique of the gun, that ultimate symbol of
both the land's lost innocence and the hardy pioneers who tamed it. They were
intrigued by a new species of hero, very different yet somehow similar — the
romanticized gangster.

Emulating their mythicized forebears, Americans have turned their country into an
arsenal. Today they own somewhere between 50 million and 200 million pistols and
revolvers, shotguns and rifles, as well as uncounted machine guns, hand grenades,
bazookas, mortars, even antitank guns. At least 3,000,000 more are bought each year,
some two thirds through the mails-"as easily," in Lyndon Johnson's words, "as baskets
of fruit or cartons of cigarettes." Said Maryland's Democratic Senator Joseph Tydings
last week in an appeal for more effective legislation to curb this traffic: "It is
just tragic that in all of Western civilization the U.S. is the one country with an
insane gun policy."

Ideal for Tanks.

Strong words? Consider: a magazine recently advertised replicas of the derringer
pistol as the dandy little model that killed "two of our country's Presidents,
Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley." Another suggested: SUBMACHINE GUN FOR FATHER'S
DAY? Yet another offered, for $99.50, a 20-mm. antitank gun, "ideal for long-range
shots at deer and bear or at cars and trucks and even a tank if you happen to see

In California, two attractive young San Franciscans named William and Louise Thoresen
await trial next week on charges of possessing 70 tons of weapons and ammunition,
including a 37-mm. cannon. On the national day of mourning for Robert F. Kennedy,
promoters of a Davenport, Iowa, pistolshooting match decided to go ahead with the
event but to observe a moment of silence after each volley, out of respect to the
assassinated Senator.

Spurred largely by fears of racial violence, Americans are engaged in a manic
internal arms race. "There are more guns in Los Angeles," said a Negro leader, "than
in Saigon" — at least 3,000,000. In Massachusetts, 1,100 gun dealers last year sold
enough arms to equip an army of 56,000. Chicago's Blackstone Rangers, a 1,000-member
black gang, are said to have 1,200 handguns among them.

White would-be vigilantes more than match them. The gun-run is naturally heaviest in
areas of recent riots. In Michigan, Dearborn's racist Mayor Orville L. Hubbard
exhorted townsfolk to "take up arms, learn to shoot and be a dead shot." Close to 500
Dearborn women are taking regular pistol practice; similar distaff firearm courses
are under way from Redondo Beach, Calif., to DeKalb County, Georgia, to Dallas, where
1,000 women have completed a pistol program in recent months.

Increasing numbers of guns are falling into the hands of juveniles; in Chicago last
year, 1,293 youths, one only eight — years — old, were arrested with guns in their
possession. Last week in Oklahoma, two brothers, 12 and 10, were charged with
shooting a 49-year-old grocer to death. Startling accidents happen, especially around
inexperienced gun handlers. A Detroit man heard footsteps in his home, saw the knob
of his bedroom door open slowly, leveled his bedside pistol — and fatally drilled his
three — year — old daughter through the head. In Gunnison, Colo., Robert Delaney was
riding along a dirt road on a motorbike when a shot rang out. His 15-year-old son
Kirk, following on another motorbike, tumbled to the ground dead. Then his
ten-year-old son was killed. Down the road, Delaney found a middle-aged hunter with a
.30-'06 rifle, who explained that he had mistaken the boys, who were wearing red hats
and riding a red bike, for an elk.

Like Bullet Holes.

This "contagion of blood," as Italian Author Indro Montanelli called it, has
understandably dismayed other nations, which despite their own long histories of
violence have come to expect something better of the U.S. "Recourse to violence as a
form of solving differences is one of the philosophic norms which the Yankees have
spread with greatest efficacy throughout the world," lectured Barcelona's El
Noticiero Universal, overlooking Spain's own sanguinary history.

Foreign critics also tend to forget that there are many different forms of violence.
A police state, which operates on the threat of violence by the government against
its own citizens, can more easily maintain order and prevent crime that a free
society. Soviet Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko chose to ignore that fact when he recently

The stars
In your flag,
Are like bullet holes.

While it is necessary to discount such hysteria and maintain a sound historical
perspective, it is still obvious that the U.S. must have gun legislation. Though
states and localities have a bewildering crazy quilt of 20,000 weapon laws, only two
are on the federal books. One is the National Firearms Act of 1934, taxing interstate
shipments of such gangster-style weapons as machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. The
other is the pallid Federal Firearms Act of 1938, prohibiting interstate gun
shipments to felons. In 30 years, Congress has failed to enact a single new gun bill,
thus allowing, as the President declared, "the demented, the deranged, the hardened
criminal and the convict, the addict and the alcoholic" to order weapons by mail with
no questions asked.

Toothless Answer.

Attempts to tighten the absurdly loose laws have repeatedly been defeated, largely
due to the efforts of the 1,000,000-member National Rifle Association. Two years
before he became President, John F. Kennedy unsuccessfully sought a ban on imports of
foreign weapons-which would have kept out of the U.S. the $12.78 Mannlicher-Carcano
Italian rifle that killed him in 1963. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, declaring that "It
is past time that we wipe this stain of violence from this land," testified in favor
of a bill to tighten controls on handguns — such as the .22-cal. Iver-Johnson
eight-shot revolver that felled him on June 4.

Pollster George Gallup maintains that in his very first opinion sampling on gun
control 34 years ago, 84% of the nation favored strong legislation. The figure has
remained at or near that level ever since. Yet Congress has assiduously ignored such
evidence of public opinion. John Kennedy's assassination did not goad Capitol Hill to
act. There was a brief flurry, centering around Connecticut Senator Thomas Dodd's
bill to ban the mail-order sale of all guns, but as soon as the N.R.A. started
moving, Congress stopped. Its paralysis persisted after last April's slaying of
Martin Luther King. Robert Kennedy's murder in Los Angeles brought an appeal from the
President for an end to the "insane traffic" in guns, but Congress responded by
completing action on a measure so toothless — it provides for little more than a ban
on mail-order handguns — as to please even the N.R.A. Johnson scorned it as
"watered-down" and "halfway," dropped hints that he might veto the entire crime, bill
of which it is a part.

Pop a Bag.

But things are changing. In the past, Congressmen were swamped with mail from
self-styled "gun nuts", whenever even the most limited controls were proposed. Now
the rest of the nation has been making itself heard.

Carloads of pro-control mail have cascaded into Washington. Senators whose mail had
run 100-to-1 against gun laws now found the ratio reversed. New Jersey's Republican
Senator Clifford Case alone has received 11,000 letters since Senator Kennedy's death
400-to-1 in favor of strong legislation. Tydings drew twice as many letters on guns
in a few days as he has Viet Nam in the past three years. 16-month-old National
Council for a Responsible Firearms Policy launched a campaign to send 10 million
pro-control letters to Congress, also got 400 pickets to march around the N.R.A.'s
gleaming, $3,500,000 Washington headquarters, where an armed guard is posted at the
door. Thousands of brown paper bags, lettered with the words "Ban all guns" were sent
to Senators. They also bore the message: "Pop one of these in the Senate. The
surprise might get to the Senators."

In a rebuke to violence, 1,000 New York schoolchildren turned a mound of toy guns and
comics — including Superman and Combat — over to trash collectors. Sears, Roebuck and
Montgomery Ward stopped mail-order gun sales after King's assassination; Macy's,
Alexander's and Abraham & Straus in New York had quit selling guns even before that.
Last week Ohio's J-Mart discount stores gave their entire $20,000 inventory of guns
to the Columbus police.

Three leading gunmakers — Remingon, Savage and Winchester — urged an end to
mail-order sales of rifles and shotguns, proposed a permit system for gun owners and
announced sponsorship of a long-range study of behavioral patterns in relation to the
use of firearms.

In San Francisco, 300 citizens voluntarily turned in weapons after an appeal from
Mayor Joseph Alioto, who said that the city might "have them melted down and made
into a sculpture honoring Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King." In Chicago, gun
owners voluntarily delivered 100 weapons to police stations.


Most significant was the soul-searching among Senators, many of them Western liberals
who have long bowed to N.R.A.-generated pressure and opposed effective controls.
Washington Democrat Warren Magnum, who as chairman of the Commerce Committee helped
bottle up the Dodd bill after J.F.K.'s assassination, said he would now vote for a
ban on the mail-order sale of all guns because of "the violence and terror surging
through the streets of every county and every state." Democrats William Proxire and
Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, Edmund Muskie of Maine, Mike Mononey of Oklahoma and
Republican Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania said that they too, were preparing to switch.
The Republican congressional leadership indicated that it might abandon longstanding
opposition and accept an Administration bill banning mail order sales of all guns or
even a stronger version by Tydings requiring gun owners to obtain licenses and
register their weapons. "Let the testimony show the need," declared Senate G.O.P.
Leader Everett M. Dirksen, "and I'll be Johnny-on-the-spot in supporting it."

Even Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, a Montanan with a large hunting and shooting
constituency, did a turnout by announcing for Tydings' bill. "Maybe it's a
recognition that we've come to the end of an era. It's a new population, in the
cities now. Lots of things are coming together at once, and they are bringing a
change in the thinking of the American people."

Glassen on Goebbels.

Not all of the people. The N.R.A. is just beginning to mount its counterattack, and
most legislators know how fierce that offensive can get. As New York State Democratic
Assemblyman Leonard Stavisky, who tangled with the group over a gun bill last month,
puts it: "They tell legislators, 'We will terminate from public office anybody who
disagrees with us,' and the legislators believe them." As well they should. N.R.A.
officials have privately bragged that within 72 hours the organization can produce
half a million letters from its members on any gun bill.

As unofficial spokesman for the nation's private-arms industry, N.R.A. provides
safety and conservation programs for gun owners — who also benefit by receiving
cut-rate surplus weapons and free ammunition, courtesy of the Pentagon. Most of
N.R.A.'s members are responsible hunters, target shooters and collectors,
scrupulously respectful of their weapons and aware of the need for some control; the
outfit likes to boast that John Kennedy was a life member.

But some are notorious hotheads, drawn from such ultraright paramilitary outfits as
the Minutemen and the California Rangers. After New York Freelance Author Carl Bakal
published his celebrated antigun tract, The Right to Bear Arms, N.R.A. members wrote
him by the hundreds; among the friendlier salutations were "poltroon," "blatherskite"
and "Communist and pervert." Exclaims Bakal: "And these are the people who own guns!"

As sentiment for controls surged, N.R.A. President Harold Glassen, a loose-tongued
Lansing, Mich., lawyer, declared: "We see Americans behaving like children, parroting
nonsense, accepting unproved theory as fact and reacting as the Germans did in the
1930s as the Goebbels propaganda mill drilled lies into their subconsciousness."

For Social Welfare.

Despite N.R.A.'s oft-demonstrated tactics, Glassen insists: "All this talk about the
gun lobby is baloney. We have yet to spend a single dollar on lobbying; we have never
hired a lobbyist. We don't tell anyone to write his Congressman." In fact, no lobby
in Washington — except perhaps the American Medical Association, which came a cropper
on Medicare — rivals N.R.A. in effectiveness. Exempt from taxes under the same
Internal Revenue Service provision that covers the Volunteer Firemen and the
Veterans' Association, the N.R.A. is classified as an organization "operated
exclusively for the promotion of social welfare," with earnings "devoted exclusively
to charitable, educational or recreational purposes." The same provision allows it to
lobby but without requiring it to register. And lobby the N.R.A. does — in and out of

At least two dozen Congressmen are members, including Iowa's Republican Senator
Bourke Hickenlooper. N.R.A. has 182 "field representatives" working on legislation,
not only in Washington but in 47 state capitals as well. Much of its $5,700,000
budget goes toward promoting such slogans as "Shooting Is Safe." Despite its
insistence that it does not directly tell its members to write their Congressmen,
astounding numbers of them certainly do — usually sending identically worded messages
supplied by the organization's magazine, American Rifleman. Tydings, for example,
received thousands of letters with his name misspelled Tidings after it appeared that
way in the magazine.

Any time a gun bill is introduced anywhere, a number of basic shibboleths are
constantly repeated by N.R.A. officials. Among them:

"The constitutional right to bear arms will be infringed."

N.R.A. is fond of quoting the second half of the Second Amendment in the Bill of
Rights, but not the first. The full amendment reads: "A well-regulated Militia, being
necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear
Arms shall not be infringed." Consistently, federal courts have interpreted the
Second Amendment as referring to a collective right not an individual privilege. The
supreme Court ruled as far back as 1939 that the amendment expressly concerns "the
preservation or efficiency of well-regulated militia." Nevertheless, the major gun
magazines endlessly celebrate the majesty and inviolability of the "armed citizen."
In a recent issue the noisy "Guns & Ammo magazine, one article is titled: "The
American and His Gun — A Tradition the World Envies."

"Guns don't kill people; people kill people."

The N.R.A. points out that autos kill three times as many Americans as guns each year
and asks archly: "Why not ban them?" (One reply: Autos are registered Why not guns?)
N.R.A. officials cite a study made by University of Pennsylvania Sociologist Marvin
E. Wolfgang of 588 criminal homicides committed in Philadelphia over a four at
period. He concluded that, given sufficient motivation or provocation," it makes no
difference whether a gun is handy — if not, the offender "would use a knife to stab
or fists to beat his victim to death." But Wolfgang has since modified that view. As
Detroit Police commissioner Ray Girardin puts it: "When people have guns, they use
them. A wife gets mad at her husband, and in stead of throwing a dish she grabs the
gun and kills him." Agrees Psychiatrist Robert Coles: "Every psychiatrist has treated
patients who were thankful that guns were no around at one time or an other their

If guns were to be registered, the anticontrol fraternity maintains, so should
knives, golf clubs, axes, beer bottles every other implement occasionally used to
kill. (Guns & Ammo facetiously suggests registering the genitals of all American
males, since there are so many rapes in the U.S.) Still, nothing else can translate a
fleeting murderous impulse into action more efficiently or finally than a gun. There
is no need for contact, none of the effort required stab or bludgeon a human being.

"When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."

The N.R.A. argument is that if various categories of guns are prohibited, the
law-abiding citizen will be left defenseless while the criminal will ignore the law
and steal a gun — "as he usually does anyway." In fact, he usually does not and has
no need to, when it is so ludicrously easy to purchase one legitimately. A 1965 study
showed that nearly 25% of 4,069 mail-order guns shipped by two Chicago firms went to
convicted criminals. In New Jersey, one in every five recipients of mail-order
firearms has a criminal record. Massachusetts State Police Captain John Collins notes
that of 4,506 guns confiscated from criminals in a recent period, only six had been

Criminologists wonder just how good an idea it is for Everyman to keep a pistol in
the dresser drawer for self-defense. Aside from the moral issue of whether a burglar
deserves to be executed for the relatively minor crime of property theft, there is
the practical point that if the armed citizen pulls a gun, he is likelier to get shot
than is the generally more experienced burglar. Moreover, two-thirds of criminal
assaults and three-fourths of homicides result from quarrels among family or friends.
U.C.L.A. Psychiatrist Ralph Greenson says: "Guns not only fail to resolve aggression,
they provoke it."

"First registration, then discrimination, finally confiscation."

The fear that the Government will end all private ownership of firearms underlies the
N.R.A.'s opposition to registration of any weapons. The organization's officials
argue that once local police were empowered to reject applicants for a permit to own
a weapon, they would do so capriciously or on the basis of personal or political
prejudice. Not surprisingly, such Negro militants as California's Black Panthers are
dead set against gun registration, maintaining that it would be used to disarm them.
Similarly, the New Left newspaper, the Guardian, has declared its opposition to
"restrictions on weapons which would deprive sections of the population of a means of
self-defense" while "the state itself is abundantly armed." In this, the way-out left
sounds oddly similar to the way-out right, whose spokesmen claim that if guns were
registered, invading Communists would merely have to get the lists from police
stations in order to disarm the nation and choke off resistance.

No doubt the antigun advocates, too, sometimes go beyond what is reasonable or at
least practical. Some urge complete confiscation. "I see no reason," says University
of Chicago Sociologist Morris Janowitz, "why anyone in a democracy should own a

That solution is probably far too drastic. Some 20 million Americans are hunters, and
though accidents kill up to 800 of them each year, few would want their sport
circumscribed — or destroyed — by too-stringent gun laws. Thousands of other
Americans engage in such pastimes as skeet and trap shooting, muzzle-loading
competitions with old-style rifles, and bench-rest shooting, whose enthusiasts weigh
their powder, mold their bullets and come close to perfect marksmanship.

In great stretches of the West — notably Montana, Utah, Colorado and Idaho — a
standard fixture in most rural homes is the .30-30 in the corner, the universal
"thutty-thutty" deer rifle. In the South and Southwest, rare is the farmer who does
not keep a rifle in his pickup all the time; Lyndon Johnson used to have a deer rifle
clipped under the front seat of his Lincoln while at the ranch. In Alaska, shooting
is a way of life — and often of preservation.

If any weapon is likely to be outlawed entirely it is the handgun. The U.S. Mayors
Conference last week recommended that its ownership be banned for all but
law-enforcement officials. Japan, with 100 million people, allows only 100 of them to
own pistols, for shooting matches. Britain authorizes their use on pistol ranges and
almost nowhere else. But in the U.S., 70% of shooting deaths are caused by handguns.
Often the weapon is a cheap, .22-cal. import. In Houston, where 244 murders were
committed in 1967, a tinny .22 known as the "Saturday-night special" figures in a
disproportionate number of killings. In Charlotte, N.C., foreign-made light pistols
are known as "hand grenades" among police because they are likely to explode in the
user's grip. Mass-stamped from light metals, they lose whatever accuracy they have
after as few as five shots.

The Equalizer.

With all the dangers that guns represent, why are Americans so enamored of them? For
the man with a feeling of insecurity or inferiority, a pistol in his pocket is the
"equalizer," the "difference." For the gang youth, it is a badge of bravery. Ernest
Dichter, director of the Institute for Motivational Research at Croton-on-Hudson,
N.Y., maintains that "we're just emerging from a brawn culture into a brain culture,
and brains are not as dramatic." Guns compensate for that, Dichter adds, by serving
as "a virility source. Clyde [of Bonnie and Clyde] is impotent, and he is using his
gun to balance that." Indeed, Freudians point out that the gun is an obvious phallic
symbol, conferring on its owner a feeling of potency and masculinity. In a talk with
French Novelist Romain Gary two weeks before he died, Robert Kennedy perceptively
touched on a related aspect of the gun mystique. "I like Hemingway very much as a
writer" said Kennedy, "but he was the founder of a ridiculous and dangerous myth:
that of the firearm and the virile beauty of the act of killing."

Quite properly, many observers note that changing gun laws will not help much as long
as people yield to the violent impulses that seize them. "Cain and not Abel, is the
father of man," notes Chicago Psychiatrist Bruno Bettelheim. Half a century ago in
The Golden Bough, Anthropologist Sir James Frazer discerned "a solid layer of
savagery beneath the surface of society, unaffected by the superficial changes of
religion and culture." To cope with what Sir James described as this "standing menace
to civilization," many authorities suggest that a way must be found to control
aggression and, as Detroit Psychiatrist Bruce Danto puts it, to "detect in the early
years the signs of a guy who is an accident waiting to happen."

Even the Bedouins. Gun controls obviously cannot stop crime or wanton killing, and no
one claims that they can. Laws can be circumvented. At the 1957 Apalachin "crime
convention," twelve of the 35 New York residents collared by police were "clean"
under the provisions of the state's tough Sullivan law — they had pistol permits.

Unless an amateur psychiatrist in a gun shop or a police station had recognized him
as a paranoid schizophrenic, Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower sniper who killed or
wounded 46 people two years ago, would have been able to assemble his lethal armory
despite strict gun controls. Sirhan Sirhan violated three California laws in merely
possessing the pistol he used to kill Bobby Kennedy, but he still had the weapon. On
the other hand, reasonable laws might have prevented Lee Harvey Oswald from
committing what Lyndon Johnson called "murder by mail order"; Oswald would also
probably have been refused a gun permit because of his background.

To be effective, gun-control Iegislation should be rational and uniform. Otherwise,
as New Jersey's Governor Richard Hughes complained last week, states with strong laws
will invariably be "subverted" by those with weak ones. Michigan residents who want
to avoid buying a pistol permit — and having their background checked — simply drive
across the Ohio border to Toledo, where guns are sold even at the candy counter of a
sleazy hamburger stand. Massachusetts police in a ten-year study traced 87% of the
guns used in local crimes to purchases in neighboring states where no waiting period
or background investigation was required.

High on the list of reforms sought by many gun-control advocates is a system of dual
registration, similar to the one for autos. The driver is licensed, and his vehicle
is registered separately. The same principle could apply to guns-licensing for the
owner, registration for each of his firearms.

It would be a nuisance, to be sure, but, given the destructive power of guns, it
would hardly be an outrageous imposition in an industrial society that demands
registration of cars, businesses, private planes, dogs and marriages, as well as
prescriptions for many mild drugs. Even the Bedouins of Jordan, rootless wanderers
and fierce individualists all, are required to register their rifles with desert

Some authorities have suggested that every firearm sold be "fingerprinted" in advance
by test-firing to determine its ballistic pattern. In the age of the computer such
distinctive patterns could be kept on file without too much difficulty With gun
owners carrying a license and a registration card for every weapon, ammunition could
also be registered and sold only to those with proper credentials. Such all-embracing
registration would aid police in both detection and prevention of crimes.

Finally, proponents of gun-law reform argue that, just as prospective drivers must
undergo examinations, the applicant for a license to possess a gun should be required
to pass a thorough written exam and a proficiency test in handling it. At present, no
tests are given-even for eyesight.

Such controls would be costly and undoubtedly irksome. Even so, the point has come
when they are essential. The frontier is gone, and its folkways cannot not reasonably
be condoned in a dense, tension-filled urban society. The time has long passed when a
firearm can be allowed to serve as an instrument of individual justice — as it too
often is even today.

Intelligent gun legislation, as Lyndon Johnson pointed out, "will not in itself end
the violence. But reason and experience tell us that it will slow it down — that it
will spare many innocent lives.

" Whatever the cost, it would be worth it to reduce the risk of killing a Kennedy, a
King , or a kid gunned down by an ignorant hunter.



Aug 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/5/99
Time 1788: The Gun in America
" When the resolution to enslave America was formed in Great Britain, the British
Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the
people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but not to do it
openly, but to weaken them, and let them sink gradually...I ask you who are the militia?
They consist of the whole people, except a few public officers. "
George Mason 1788

Eric Williams

Aug 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/5/99
Chuckles the Clown wrote:
> Time Magazine
> The Gun In America
> "In U.S. folklore, nothing has been more romanticized than guns and the
> larger-than-life men who wielded them."
> SPECIAL REPORT JUNE 21, 1968 VOL. 91, NO. 25

TIME Magazine admits publicly that it is not an objective source of
information on the issue of gun control. Its official policy is one of
slanted coverage and inflamatory rhetoric designed to pursuade the
public to adopt its political agenda.

"The July 17 cover story is the most recent in a growing number of
attempts on the part of TIME editors to keep the gun-availability
issue resolutely in view. Such an editorial closing of the ranks
represents the exception rather than the rule in the history of the
magazine, which has always endeavored to provide a variety of
opinions and comment, in addition to straightforward news reporting
... But the time for opinions on the dangers of gun availability is
long since gone, replaced by overwhelming evidence that is
represents a growing threat to public safety ... our responsibility
now is to confront indifference about the escalating violence the
unwillingness to do something about it."

Gloria Hammond, TIME Magazine, form letter to persons complaining about
the magazines firearms coverage, August 1, 1989.

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