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Unexamined Premises

San Francisco, 1978, Dianne Feinstein and Gun Control

January 24th, 2013 - 7:14 pm

Here’s Feinstein years later, reflecting on the Moscone-Milk murders:

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As luck would have it, on May 21, 1979, I was covering an event (a PDQ Bach concert) in the War Memorial Opera House — which is directly across Van Ness Avenue from City Hall — and thus found myself smack in the middle of the “White Night” riots that followed in the wake of the jury’s verdict in White’s double-homicide trial: voluntary manslaughter, with diminished capacity, instead of first-degree murder with special circumstances, which would have qualified White for the death penalty.  Instead he got seven years in jail, of which he served five. White killed himself in 1985. 

Driving to the Opera House, I heard the report of the verdict on my car radio, and decided that I would park well away from City Hall that evening. I’m glad I did. City Hall was trashed that night, windows smashed, cars set on fire, and ugly confrontations everywhere:

The “White Night” riots

I suppose it’s no wonder, then, that Sen. Feinstein has long made gun control one of her chief issues. But as her proposed ban list (which will never be approved by a Senate filled with vulnerable Democrats) illustrates, nothing she’s advocating would have saved the lives of Mayor Moscone or Harvey Milk on that awful fall day 34 years ago, when all it took was a police six-shooter, some extra ammunition, and a poor, lost, and angry soul willing to break multiple laws in order to revenge himself on political foes.

Until legislators come up with a way to stop that, the rest of it is just grandstanding — however deeply felt the personal motives behind infringing the Second Amendment may be. Because in the Moscone-Milk case, it wasn’t the gun.  It was the shooter.

As it always is.

Related: Ted Cruz Locked and Loaded to Defeat Feinstein’s Gun Ban

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