By Dave Kopel. Mr. Kopel is research director of the Independence Institute.
4/14/00 2:50 p.m. , National Review Online. More by Kopel on women's self-defense.
When Bill Clinton's Tragedy Exploitation Tour arrived in Colorado, he was greeted with protesters waving signs stating "Rapists like Clinton want gun control."
The protesters, a Colorado group of activists known as the Tyranny Response Team (www.trteam.com), make a point which larger groups, such as the National Rifle Association, have avoided.
Is it fair for the Tyranny Response Team to call Clinton a rapist? There are two possibilities about Clinton's encounter with Juanita Broaddrick in the hotel room: Either she told the truth, and he raped her; or Clinton told the truth when he told his White House spokespeople to tell the press that Clinton and Broaddrick did have sex, but it was consensual.
As in many rape cases, a judgment must be made about the credibility of the victim and the accused — when a defendant admits to the sex but denies the rape. In such cases, juries often are able to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, based on their evaluation of the veracity of the victim and the perpetrator.
Whether you believe Clinton or you believe Broaddrick, it's clear that rapists are afraid of armed victims. Yale law professor John Lott's book More Guns, Less Crime, finds that rape declines about 9% when states enact laws allowing licensed, trained women to carry handguns for lawful protection.
There's no doubt that Clinton doesn't like defensive gun ownership; his statements about gun control frequently avow an intent not to destroy hunting or target shooting, but he does not recognize the legitimacy of gun ownership for personal protection.
"I don't want Juanita Broaddrick to have a gun, she might have shot me," said Tyranny Response Team's Bob Glass, mimicking Clinton's high-pitched drawl.
How different history might be if Arkansas's concealed handgun law had been enacted in 1974 instead of 1994.
More on the carrying of handguns for lawful protection.