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April Diary
Gun stories, a Darwinian royal wedding, and more


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John Derbyshire

More anarcho-tyranny     I’ll start and end this month with gun stories.

This first one is local, but a few weeks old. A friend just brought it to my attention.

The owner of a New Hyde Park business and his son were among nine people arrested following an undercover investigation into the sale of assault weapons at gun shops throughout the county, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced Thursday. . . . Rice said that shop owners were breaking the law by temporarily modifying the weapons to appear as though they lacked the required characteristics of an assault weapon. However, the temporary modification was easily reversible, thereby making them full-fledged assault weapons. For example, a pin was placed in the stock of a weapon in an attempt to prevent its collapse. However, the pins were designed to be easily removable making the stock collapsible.

These guys are being charged with a crime for selling firearms that could be modified to be assault weapons. As sold, the adjustable stocks were pinned in place, giving them few enough “evil features” that they fall outside the “assault weapon” category (which is political, not functional). But the D.A. is asserting that because the guns could be modified by the purchaser, they thereby qualify as assault weapons.

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A gun is a thing of components fitted, screwed, and bolted together. If, by rearranging things, I turn my gun into an “assault weapon,” I guess I have broken the law. It’s a fair cop, guv’nor. But how has the guy who sold me the gun broken the law?

If I remove the butt plate from our family shotgun (two screws), insert an 8-inch screwdriver down the hole that goes through the stock, and remove a third screw therein, the stock comes off and I can replace it with a pistol grip. Is this legal in my state? I have no idea; but if it’s not, and I do it anyway, how is the gun seller at fault?

That’s how the law-enforcement authorities keep themselves busy in my neck of the woods.

One of the many ways they do not keep themselves busy is by assisting the feds in identifying, detaining, and deporting illegal immigrants. Which is too bad for the victims in this story and a thousand like it:

A possibly drunken driver killed two men when he hit another car yesterday on the Wantagh State Parkway in Levittown, State Police said.

Oscar E. Ramirez-Lopez, 29, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, was driving a Ford Windstar north on the parkway when he sideswiped a Kia Sephia.

Driver Ilario Scuteri, 49, and passenger Daniel J. Gambardella, 46, died when the car went out of control into a tree at around 4:50 a.m. Ramirez-Lopez, who cops said had been drinking, was charged with first-degree vehicular manslaughter.


Two Sisters     Nice to see the dear old Queen turn out for her grandson’s wedding. Though I have no time for the royals in general, I grew up with Elizabeth and nurse some sentimental nostalgia towards her.

When I see her, though, I can’t repress a twinge of pity for her sister, Margaret. I grew up with her, too. When I was a little kid, the two sisters were hard to tell apart. Elizabeth was slightly better looking, but Margaret had her charms.

As the years passed, though, they diverged. Elizabeth aged gently and gracefully, doing what she was raised to do — and I’m setting aside the issue of whether it was worth doing — with dignity and good humor.

Margaret, though the younger, aged faster, with assistance from booze, shady boyfriends, and a pack-a-day habit. By the time Elizabeth was a handsome English matron, Margaret was a raddled old tramp.

It was a little tragedy, played out before the eyes of anyone born in mid-20th-century England. Someone should make a movie of it. Hey, I’ll do the screenplay for a decent advance. Contact me via National Review.



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