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By Larry Pratt

February 16, 2006

The hunting accident that occurred when Vice President Dick Cheney shot a hunting buddy during a bird hunt is only of interest because it involved the Vice President.

Hunting accidents happen every year, although it is also true that fatal gun accidents of all kind are continuing to decline. Most recently there have been 770 accidental firearms deaths per year. This has occurred at the same time that the number of firearms owned by private citizens in this country has nearly tripled since 1967 � a year that saw 2700 fatal firearms accidents.

To put these numbers into perspective, consider that there are about 40,000 deaths from automobile accidents each year. That means that using your car is about 57 times more likely to kill you than is Dick Cheney�s shotgun.

Some are trying to invent a story out of Cheney�s failure to hold a press conference right away. Those same people don�t seem to find any problem with a truly fatal accident involving another prominent person, Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Kennedy left the scene of an accident and let a girl drown. He spent the night trying to figure out what his story would be.

Perhaps that is why so many of the media have let Kennedy alone � at least he held a news conference as soon as he had his story straight.

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada has criticized Cheney for not holding a news conference right away. This is the same Senator who had a stroke and took three days to say anything to the media. Again, the Sen. Kennedy rule probably protects Sen. Reid, since his aides claim that the delay was occasioned by their desire to have all the tests in so they would have their story straight.

As long as you were thinking of the media, delay is OK. It is only inexcusable if you were not thinking first of the media -- you know, like getting the poor victim of the accident to the hospital and making sure he was alright.

Other �interesting delays� in our recent history involved the 30 hours Hillary Clinton needed to contact the media about the violent death of her law partner/White House counsel, Vince Foster. Where was the media outrage following Hillary�s delay?

One reporter asked if Gun Owners of America was not afraid that the Cheney incident would lead to a call for more gun control. I explained the facts above about declining accidental firearms fatalities. He responded that, �Didn�t we think that calls for a renewal of the semi-auto ban (which he incorrectly called �assault weapons�) could result from this incident?�

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All I could do was laugh. What a non-sequitur.

I am not sure that even Sarah Brady would try to make that stretch, but then, maybe I had better wait a while.

� 2006 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

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Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is: Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at:  

E-Mail: [email protected]

Either Pratt or another GOA spokesman is available for press interviews.








Other �interesting delays� in our recent history involved the 30 hours Hillary Clinton needed to contact the media about the violent death of her law partner/White House counsel, Vince Foster.