fits of the welfare state. As he explainedrnin Statehood is for the Poor (1978):rnIf it were a state, Puerto Ricornwould be absolutely assured ofrnenormous amounts of federal moneyrn—money the island needs in orderrnto come to grips with its manyrnproblems.. .. Puerto Rico’s perrncapita contribution to the federalrntreasurv’, were we a state, wouldrncome to less than that of any otherrnstate in the Union. At the samerntime, the per capita benefits we’drnreap from federal aid programsrnwould be greater than those of anyrnother state in the Union. On toprnof all this, we’d also have seven orrneight Puerto Ricans serving as fullrnvoting members of Congress, workingrnup in Washington at all timesrnto help draft and pass new and improvedrnsocial welfare legislation.rnThis would be an unprecedented kind ofrnstatehood. As Romero-Bareelo maintainedrnthen and now: “Yes, we wantrnstatehood, but neither our language norrnour culture is negotiable.”rnThe bill on Puerto Rican statehood recentlyrnpassed by the U.S. House of Representatives,rnH.R. 856, does not mandaternEnglish as the official language of thernnew state—as was previously required forrnArizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, andrnOklahoma under the terms of their respectivernEnabling and Admission Acts.rnShould H.R. 856 become law. Congressrnwill not possess the legal authority to requirernPuerto Rico to conduct any of itsrngovernmental activities in English. Asrnthe American Law Division of the CongressionalrnResearch Service wrote in Octoberrn1997: “Under existing precedents,rnits seems highly unlikely that Congressrncould under its legislative powers andrnacting only through a statute mandaternthat a State conducts its official affairs usingrna language of Congress’ choosing.”rnIn other words, such flawed legislation asrnH.R. 856 would not only violate establishedrncongressional procedure, it wouldrnmake the United States a de facto bilingualrncountry. Puerto Rico would becomernfor the United States what Quebecrnis for Canada.rnSome proponents of statehood forrnPuerto Rico are even demanding thatrnthe island retain the powers over immigrationrnand land alienation currentlyrnpermitted to other territories. Still othersrnopenly proclaim their dedication to restructuringrnthe United States into a federationrnof “nations.” As lawyer, editor,rnand political activist Luis R. Davila-rnColon wrote in The SupranationalrnUnion: An Evolving Model of Statehoodrnfor Twenty-First Century America:rnThe future admission of its overseasrnterritories and the District ofrnColumbia, as equal members ofrnthe Union, would lay the groundworkrnfor a stronger Union and, perhapsrnin time, for the sharing of thernAmerican system of governmentrnwith nations which may want tornshare our dreams, progress andrndemocratic values. The notionrnthat we have a living Constitutionrnwhich adapts to the realities of arnchanging world, suggests to thisrnwriter, that the concept of “WernThe People …” may one day includernas fully sovereign states.rnBlack, Hispanic, Pacific, poor andrnnot so poor Nations and societies,rnall willing to share a common Federalrngovernment.rnTranslation: The United States shouldrnbecome a colony of the Third World.rnEvery country and dependency desirousrnof having unlimited access to the U.S.rnTreasury should be able to “join” thernUnited States. And to facilitate the admittancernof such new “states,” the UnitedrnStates should abolish its language andrnculture, citizenship and laws, and be politicallyrnrestructured into a “United Nations.”rnThis “futurist” idea of a “supranationalrnunion” is as old as the Babylonian Empire.rnIt has been revived manv timesrnthroughout the 20th century-only tornfail. Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Pakistan,rnYugoslavia, and the Soviet Union havernall disintegrated; Bosnia, Burma, China,rnIndia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka,rnSudan, and Turkey are only held togetherrnby armed force; and Canada and Belgiumrnare peacefully careening towardrnelectoral dissolution. Yet Congress is determinedrnthat the United States repeatrnthis failed “experiment” and to that endrnhas politically restructured the Union intorna contradictory mix of polities, powers,rnand hierarchies.rnIn The Federalist, John Jay wrote: “Itrnhas often given me pleasure to observe,rnthat Independent America was not composedrnof detached and distant territories,rnbut that one connected, fertile, widernspreading country was the portion of ourrnwestern sons of liberty.” Two centuriesrnlater, these words no longer apply.rnJoseph E. Fallon writes from Rye, NewrnYork. This article is excerpted from thernmonograph, “Deconstructing America:rnImmigration, Nationality and Statehood,”rnpublished by the Council forrnSocial and Economic Studies.rnGUNSrnGun Sense andrnSensibilityrnby Dave KopelrnWhen Senator Robert Kennedyrnwas assassinated 30 years agornwith a cheap imported handgun, I wasrnamong the many Americans who believedrnthat America’s “gun culture” wasrnout of control. To me, it seemed obviousrnthat all guns should be banned. At thernleast, a psychiatric test ought to be requiredrnfor anybody who wanted to own arngun. Yet 30 years after a gunman deprivedrnAmerica of the chance to electrnRobert Kennedy instead of the criminalrnRichard Nixon, I am writing my first gunrnrights column for Chronicles. And I feelrnespecially comfortable writing about gunrnrights in “a magazine of American cultiire”rnbecause I’ve come to believe thatrngun ownership represents some of thernvery best of American culture. How didrnI get here from there?rnIn the coming months, I’ll discuss notrnonly the practical importance of firearmsrnownership —such as the public safetyrnbenefits of guns in the right hands—butrnI’ll also examine the cultural aspects ofrnguns in America: why some people lovernguns, and why others loathe them.rnRegarding the latter group, some peoplernbelieve, including many of the supportersrnof Sarah Brady’s Handgun Control,rnInc., that the use offeree by anyonernwho is not a government employee is immoral.rnAs Mrs. Brady states, “To me, thernonly reason for guns in civilian hands isrnfor sporting purposes.” James Bradyrnagrees: asked by Parade magazine if privaternpossession of handguns were defensible,rnhe replied, “For target shooting,rnthat’s okay. Get a license and go to thernNOVEMBER 1998/47rnrnrn