this means that a future President Gorernwould sign Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s billrnto eliminate the laws in 31 states that allowrnlaw-abiding citizens to obtain permitsrnto carry handguns for lawful protection,rnprovided they pass a backgroundrncheck.rnStates would lose decisionmakingrnpower under both proposals: Gore wantsrnto stop states from allowing ordinary citizensrnto carry guns, and to compel states tornallow non-resident, off-duty police officersrnto carry guns.rnGore’s double standard prevails throughoutrnthe anti-gun movement. It’s virtuallyrnimpossible to find a gun-control law orrnproposal that doesn’t have a police exemption.rnCritics claim that “assaultrnweapons” are useful only for killing a lotrnof innocent people quickly, but the policerncan possess them. “Junk guns” arerncalled unreliable and worthless for protection,rnbut the police can use them.rnGun locks and other technology mandatesrnare not supposed to impede defensiverngun use, but police guns are exempt.rnOne justification for all these exemptionsrnis that the police have special obligationsrnto protect societ)’ and are, therefore,rnentitled to possess superior force.rnBut no one would suggest that police officersrnshould be allowed to earn,- nerve gas,rnsurface-to-air missiles, grenades, or mortars.rnEven if we assume that police officersrnare the only legitimate protectors ofrnsociety, they should not necessarily bernentitled to possess firearms which are forbiddenrnto other citizens —especiallyrnthose which are forbidden because theyrnsupposedly have no protective value.rnArguably, police officers, as defendersrnof law and order, are uniquely at risk and,rnhence, have a higher need for defensivernweapons. Officers on street patrol inrnhigh-crime neighborhoods, for example,rnface substantially higher risks than mostrnpeople do. Yet officers who process paper,rndirect traffic, and who do not routinelyrnengage in dangerous missions orrnpatrol violent neighborhoods are all allowed,rnunder the proposals favored by anti-rngun groups, to possess any weapon theyrnwant. These officers face no risk of attackrngreater than, and sometimes substantiallyrnless than, the risks faced by people whomrnGore and anti-gun lobbyists would disarmrn—including the owners of gas stationsrnor grocery stores in crime-riddenrnneighborhoods, women who are beingrnthreatened by ex-boyfriends, crime witnessesrnand jurors who are at risk of retaliationrnfrom violent criminals, and elderlyrnpeople who have to walk through dangerousrnareas. A police sergeant who sits in arnbuilding where ever- entrance is protectedrnby several heavily armed officers hasrnmuch less personal risk of attack than arnclerk who works the night shift at a conveniencernstore on the wrong side of town.rnAnother argument for police exemptionrnfrom gun-control laws is that officersrnare trained and disciplined and, therefore,rnless likely to abuse guns than regularrncitizens. It would be interesting to tryrnthat argument on people in the Rampartrnneighborhood of Los Angeles, or thernmany innocent people killed in no-knockrndrug raids, or the Branch Davidians, orrnthe New York Gity family of the laternPatrick Dorismond.rnAs reported in the Police Foundation’srnbook Deadly Force: What We Know, onernstudy of 1,500 incidents concluded thatrnpolice use of deadly force was not justifiedrnin 40 percent of die cases and wasrnquestionable in another 20 percent.rnWlienever a New York Cih’ police officerrnfires a gun (outside of a targetrnrange), police officials review the incident.rnAbout 20 percent of discharges arernaccidental, and another ten percent arernintentional violations offeree policy.rnThat means that only 70 percent ofrnfirearms discharges bv New York Gity policernare intentional and in compliancernwith force policy. In Philadelphia, accidentsrnmade up 27 percent of policernfirearms discharges; in Dade Gounty,rnFlorida, 31 percent were accidental.rnAccording to research bv criminologistrnDon Kates, when police shoot at criminals,rnthey are 5.5 times more likely to hitrnan innocent person than are civilianrnshooters. This is partly because the policernare more likely to intervene in situationsrnwhere they do not know the parties,rnwhile defensive civilian shooters oftenrnknow who the criminal is.rnNot only are police misuses of firearmsrnin the line of dut’ common, but their offdut}’rnmisuse of guns is disturbingly frequent.rnWhen an off-dut’ Nev’ York Gityrnpoliceman fires a gun, one time out of fourrnthe shooting will be an accident, a suicide,rnor an act of frustration.rnFinally, police officers do not necessarilyrnreceive extensive training in the use ofrnfirearms. Some do, but many receive onlyrna few dozen hours at the police academyrnand may only be required to recertif}’rntheir ability to hit a target once every fewyears.rnA large number of gun-carrying officersrnhave not practiced marksmanshiprnsince they received their firearms certificationrnas a recruit.rnThe amount of training in defensiverngun use that police officers undergornrarel) exceeds that which a civilian couldrnlearn at a good firearms-instructionrnacademy. With the advent of inexpensivernindoor laser-target systems and hightechnolog}’rnvideo trainers for “shoot-don’trnshoot” programs, and the proliferation ofrncivilian firearms schools, citizens can berneducated in defensive firearms use to atrnleast the same level of competence as thatrnrecjuired of police officers in many jurisdictions.rnThe real basis for the double standardrnof Gore and the anti-gun groups is neitherrnlogic nor sensible policy: It is the beliefrnthat government employees are superiorrnto the governed and, hence, deservernspecial privileges. Yet the ver’ purpose ofrnthe Second Amendment, as well as thernrest of the Gonstitution, is to prevent thernemergence of the privileged class thatrnGore wants to create.rnDavid B. Kopel is an adjunct professor ofrnlaw at the New York Universit)’ School ofrnLaw and research director with thernIndependence Institute.rnECONOMICSrnThe Myth ofrnEconomic Equahtyrnby David A. HartmanrnExcept in war-time, Washington mattersrnlittle to the comfort and safety’ ofrnresponsible Americans. Washingtonrndoes matter, however, as the majorrnsource of impoverishment, harassment,rnand jeopardy. Our Founding Fathersrnnever intended it to be this way.rnThe last thousand years have been definedrnby revolutions that freed peoplesrnthroughout the civilized world. Yet at thernend of the millennium, citizens ofrndemocracies secured by those revolutionsrnfind themselves under governmentsrnfar more encompassing than those theyrnreplaced. Nowhere is this more apparentrnthan in the United States, wherernthe world’s most limited governmentrnwas founded in 1787 as a republic ofrnsovereign states. Since that time, Americansrnhave acquiesced to the unlimitedrn44/CHRONICLESrnrnrn