By Plugging a Teenage Intruder, Columnist Carl Rowan May Have Shot Himself in the Foot : People.com
By Plugging a Teenage Intruder, Columnist Carl Rowan May Have Shot Himself in the FootBy Susan Schindehette
Anyone found in possession of a handgun, except a legitimate officer of the law, [should go] to jail—period! Anyone committing a crime with a handgun [should go] to prison, with 10 years added to his term, without parole—period!
Carl Rowan may have cause to rue those words, which he wrote in 1981. Rowan, the nationally syndicated columnist, has long been an outspoken advocate of gun control. Then, two weeks ago, he shot and slightly wounded an intruder in his Washington, D.C., backyard. Ever since, two facts about the case have kept capital gossips—and lawyers—abuzz: The interloper was a near-naked teenager who had been skinny-dipping with friends in Rowan’s pool, and the columnist’s weapon was an unregistered, and thus very illegal, .22 caliber pistol. As soon as the incident hit the papers, Idaho Senator Steve Symms, an outspoken opponent of gun control, sent Rowan a $20 gift membership in the National Rifle Association and a gloating telegram proclaiming: “In America, freedom and justice have always come from the ballot box, the jury box and, when that fails, the cartridge box.” Added NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre, delighted to present a plateful of crow: “Carl’s sentiments are exactly ours. We believe the honest folks in this town have a right to protect themselves.”