Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

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March 3, 2014
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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 2-24-14

Read or hear the initials NRA and immediately one thinks National Rifle Association and Charlton Heston. Regardless of anyone’s stance on the question of gun ownership and regulations of same, there’s another constitutionally guaranteed tool that could be misused in the wrong hands.

I’m speaking of Hammers. It is positively criminal the way hammer manufacturers and hammer dealers are allowed to sell, dispense, market and supply these dangerous implements to anyone, no matter the purchaser’s age or competency. Any nutcase can buy a hammer at any hardware store — and with NO background checks!

Politicians need to bend their efforts to protect society from irresponsible use of these potentially lethal weapons, especially the semi-hammers such as the sledge, jack, and ball peen.

It is well documented that hammers hurt people. Think of the smashed thumbs, blistered palms and aching carpals resulting from hammers gone amok. The NHA (National Hammer Association) claims that hammers don’t attack, maim, wound or kill. The NHA makes the irresponsible charge that injury — and sometimes death — by hammer is the direct result of one Homo Sapiens doing in another. What kind of cloth-headed thinking is that?

Fortunately, wiser heads are trying to prevail. Legislators are demanding that hammer manufacturers create “smart” hammers. Tiny digital codes will be installed in hammer-handles. Before a user can pound a nail, he or she must punch in the secret code. This will save many a carpenter from the bother of guarding his favorite hammer against theft or misuse by casual hammer users or small children.

All hammers must be registered (even the tiny recreational tack hammer), while sledge and jack hammers will be classified as heavy weaponry and will be outlawed entirely. Carrying a concealed or an unregistered hammer will be punishable with incarceration and fines.

All hammer buyers will be required to endure a five-day waiting period while his or her background is investigated. Hammer advertisements on television will be banned, and magazines carrying ads for hammers will be kept under the counters. Young people must show identification that proves they are twenty-one. A dealer who sells without carding will be held liable for any hammer mishap perpetrated by an underage individual.

Hammer novices will be required to enroll in hammer safety classes where they can be properly instructed in how to avoid accidents. Class fees to be paid by hammer dealers and manufacturers who will also share costs of medical expenses for anyone who smashes a thumb or finger or drops the implement on a toe.

These restrictions on hammer use are necessary due to modern society’s penchant for violent solutions to social problems. The invention of the hammer as a weapon of destruction and possible homicide occurred when Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal man emerged from caves carrying old fashioned clubs. One of the brighter good ol’ Neanderthals lashed a rock to his club and lo…the hammer was born.

Hammers have been responsible for banging hot steel into shapes which became axes and an axe, as we all know, led to Lizzie Borden’s unfortunate hate crime against her parents. And what of the hammer’s ability to forge steel into knives, swords and hatpins — all potentially murderous weapons?

In a bi-partisan effort to address the situation, Speakers of both Houses are asking the question: What is a Bear-Hammer? ❖


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The Fence Post Updated Feb 20, 2014 03:07PM Published Mar 10, 2014 02:10PM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.