Barrels of Fun!

Editorial writers at The Orange County Register are seething again at Governor Gray Davis. On Sept. 27, the paper blasted Davis for listening to the "most dangerous" concerns of—gasp—"anti-gun rights backers" In typical hysterical fashion, the paper claims that if citizens are allowed to sue gun manufacturers in certain situations, Californians' "ability to defend themselves" will be "dramatically limited." The "most important" gun issue nowadays is not decreasing violence, the paper said, but rather how to protect weapons manufacturers from "frivolous lawsuits."

The ranting may have been fueled by a July 30 Washington Times editorial by gun-happy Paul Craig Roberts. The conservative columnist is angry because, he claimed without citing any credible evidence, "gun control zealots spread false information" about the potential dangers of gun ownership. "Blaming violence on guns and fanning hysteria over accidental deaths of children from firearms are staples of anti-gun propaganda," he wrote. "Guns reduce violence"

In fact, guns are a key factor in day-to-day violence. A ridiculous number of shootings are accidental and involve teenagers and children, not criminals. As we enter Domestic Violence Month, let's see how the Register and Roberts' spin compares with reality. Here's a sampling of 61 straight days of gun tragedies involving children:

•Sept. 30: "Wounded girl, 8, is still in hospital [shot in arm and kidney accidentally by father]" (Dana Point).

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•Sept. 29: "Man won't face charges for killing of 13-year-old [with handgun]" (Charlotte, North Carolina).

•Sept. 28: "19-year-old gets 17 years for firing into street, killing best friend" (Fort Worth, Texas).

•Sept. 27: "Sibling, 19, dies on a dare; brother, 17, allegedly fired [gun] after he was taunted" (Albuquerque, New Mexico).

•Sept. 26: "Oceanside man faces trial over errant shot that killed [teenager]" (Oceanside); "Baby held at gunpoint [by father]" (Santa Ana). "Woman charged in shooting of 7-year-old girl" (Paoli, Indiana).

•Sept. 25: "Florida man charged with killing five members of his family" (Lake Worth, Florida).

•Sept. 24: "2-year-old boy shot" (Richmond, Virginia); "Teenager charged in shooting of sister" (Charlotte, North Carolina); "1 dead, 1 injured after gun horseplay" (Biloxi, Mississippi).

•Sept. 23: "Bronx girl, 15, hit in shoot out" (New York).

•Sept. 22: "R.I. boy, 12, shot to death" (Providence, Rhode Island).

•Sept. 21: "3-year-old playing with gun shoots 2-year-old sibling" (Waterville, Pennsylvania).

•Sept. 20: "LA gang member gets life sentence for killing of 8-year-old boy" (Los Angeles).

•Sept. 19: "Father sentenced in teen shooting death" (Greensburg, Pennsylvania).

•Sept. 18: "A 21-year-old man was ordered to stand trial for first-degree murder in the shooting of a 2-year-old boy" (Omaha, Nebraska).

•Sept. 17: "Boy, 10, in critical condition following accidental shooting" (Ontario, Canada).

•Sept. 16: "Boy accidentally shoots, kills brother with shotgun" (Austin, Texas).

•Sept. 15: "Teen shot by longtime friend during an argument over whether to watch Cinemax" (Winchester, Virginia); "Bullet grazes boy after he and twin brother discover gun in house" (Memphis, Tennessee).

•Sept. 14: "Police believe youths fired a .25-caliber gun into two passing cars" (Portland, Oregon).

•Sept. 13: "Son charged in parents' deaths" (Kent, Washington).

•Sept. 12: "[Teenager] who killed cousins gets two life sentences" (Baton Rouge, Louisiana).

•Sept. 11: "Drunk and angry with his wife, Donald Chase held a pistol to the floor of his upstairs den and fired. The bullet passed through the ceiling and killed his wife" (Orlando, Florida).

•Sept. 10: "Bullet hits girl, 15, sitting on porch with father, friend" (Buffalo, New York).

•Sept. 9: "Teen wounded in accidental shooting, friend charged" (Shreveport, Louisiana); "A 16-year-old boy apparently accidentally shot himself while showing a gun to his friends" (Kansas City, Missouri).

•Sept. 8: "Slaying of teen linked to street feud" (Buffalo, New York).

•Sept. 7: "Woman charged with killing father says shooting was accident" (Plano, Texas).

•Sept. 6: "Parents charged in child's accidental shooting" (Chesterton, Indiana).

•Sept. 5: "Father charged in wounded boy gun case" (Dallas, Texas); "Man dies of accidental self-inflicted gunshot [to groin]" (Casitas Spring, California).

•Sept. 4: "Police officer accidentally killed boy, 11, during drug raid" (Modesto, California).

•Sept. 3: "Baby, 4-months old, critical after being shot in neck" (Sacramento).

•Sept. 2: "Minnesota football player shot dead" (Minneapolis).

•Sept. 1: "Teens [two 15-year-olds] die during game of cops and robbers" (South Bend, Indiana).

•Aug. 31: "1-year-old boy hospitalized after shooting [by older brother]" (Reno, Nevada).

•Aug. 30: "Boy who shot brother is placed on four years probation" (West Bath, Maine).

•Aug. 29: "Teen, 17, to be tried as adult in boy's death. Lawyer says gunshot in pal's face was accident" (Detroit); "Vendor charged in gun show shooting death [of 13-year-old boy]" (Atlanta); "Boy, 14, charged in accidental shooting of best friend, 13" (Fort Worth, Texas); "Beach police officer's 2-year-old son died early Monday Morning after gunshot to chest" (Norfolk, Virginia).

•Aug. 28: "Father of girl, 8, whose eyes were gouged, arrested for threatening children with gun" (Dallas); "Niece dies in gunfight between father, uncle" (Marrero, Louisiana); "Boy, 11, killed in drive-by shooting" (Detroit).

•Aug. 27: "Boy, 6, dies after stepfather's gun goes off" (Wasilla, Alabama).

•Aug. 26: "Man turns himself in for accidental shooting [of 7-year-old boy]" (Council Bluffs, Iowa).

•Aug. 25: "Teenager in custody after 12-year-old shot in face" (Lexington, Kentucky).

•Aug. 24: "Sister says she didn't mean to shoot brother" (Akron, Ohio).

•Aug. 23: "Boy, 5, playing with gun shoots, kills self" (Memphis, Tennessee).

•Aug. 22: "Panhandle man gets 5 years probation for accidentally shooting friend" (Panama City, Florida).

•Aug. 21: "19-year-old sentenced for fatally shooting friend he considered closer than a brother" (Cleveland).

•Aug. 20: "Show-and-tell turns fatal; police say 9-year-olds were playing with gun" (New Haven, Connecticut); "Teen accidentally shot to death by friend" (Marthasville, Missouri); "Playing with guns goes awry when man shot dead in church" (Conway, Arkansas).

•Aug. 19: "Man, 20, gunned down at peace party" (Syracuse, New York).

•Aug. 18: "Babysitter tells police she shot child's father" (Little Rock, Arkansas).

•Aug. 17: "Teenager, 14, shoots girlfriend, 16, in thigh" (North Branch, New York); "Man [accidentally] shot in head; his [19-year-old] best friend is being held" (Corpus Christi, Texas).

•Aug. 16: "Barbara Lennie, whose 7-year-old son accidentally shot her 3-year-old son in head, has pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor child abuse charges" (Golden, Colorado).

•Aug. 15: "Shotgun accidentally kills teenager; two boys were playing with guns, deputies say" (Akron, Ohio).

•Aug. 14: "10-year-old pulls gun on 13-year-old" (Fort Wayne, Indiana).

•Aug. 13: "Girl shot while two boys struggle over shotgun" (Council Bluffs, Iowa); "Charges possible in McCracken boy's death; 4-year-old found pistol on coffee table" (Louisville, Kentucky); "13-year-old boy was slightly injured late Saturday night when he was accidentally shot in the head with a flare gun by his 13-year-old cousin" (St. Petersburg, Florida).

•Aug. 12: "8-year-old [boy shot in abdomen by another child] recovering after shooting" (Chicago).

•Aug. 11: "16-year-old slain [by 18-year-old] inside Virginia Beach Townhouse" (Virginia Beach, Virginia).

•Aug. 10: "Boy, 16, shot in leg accidentally" (North Hollywood).

•Aug. 9: "Grand jury to determine how to proceed in the case of a Grand Prairie grandmother charged with making a firearm available to her 12-year-old grandson, who then killed his 8-year-old playmate" (Dallas).

•Aug. 8: "Boy shoots, kills sister, 10" (Gainesville, Georgia).

•Aug. 7: "Boy, 14, hit in head by stray bullet" (Detroit).

•Aug. 6: "A 25-year-old was critically injured when he was accidentally shot in the face while visiting a friend who was cleaning a gun" (West Melbourne, Florida).

•Aug. 5: "Boy who accidentally shot himself is recovering" (Salem, Oregon).

•Aug. 4: "A man investigators believe shot and killed his two daughters before turning gun on himself apparently had been upset at his wife" (Perrysville, Indiana).

•Aug. 3: "Teens suspected of gunning down 18-year-old" (Anaheim).

•Aug. 2: "Dad shoots son, himself in front of local school" (Mission Viejo); "Dad's deadly mistake: Cop shoots his 3-year-old while unloading gun" (New York).

•Aug. 1: "Man kills girlfriend, self as daughters [12 and 14 years old] watch" (Austin, Texas).

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