THE PHRASE that I heard the most during the debate on the Senate crime bill was "law-abiding citizens," as in, "Will you deprive law-abiding citizens of their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment?" or "The law-abiding citizens of my state will not stand by if you take their semiautomatic weapons away from them."
I can't speak for others, but I don't know any law-abiding citizens. That doesn't mean they don't exist -- it's just that I have never met them.
Take Rubbishon, who owns a Rapid Death .45 semi-automatic pistol. He broke all the environmental laws when he constructed his house and boasts about cheating on his income tax.
Charlie Tender is no better. He sports a sawed-off Jezebel Glockmeister and has an autographed photo of Charlton Heston his wall. Charlie would be a law-abiding citizen except for the fact that he refuses to separate his bottles from the rest of his garbage.
Instead he pays the refuse people $20 so they will look the other way. He also owns a bottling factory; it's one of the biggest polluters in America.
Petty crime, you might say, but as Arnold Schwarzenegger said in "Les Miserables," "The law is the law."
Senators who believe that their constituents who keep firearms in their homes are protecting their private property are living in a dream world.
Most of the people killed at home are victims of a law-abiding loved one (or former loved one), who keeps a weapon in the house.
Professor Joe Skalet, who has been unsuccessfully searching for a law-abiding citizen ever since he graduated from Stanford University, told me: "If there are any law-abiding citizens who own guns, they are very careless about where they keep them. Some time ago a man in No Drink, Mich., hid his semi-automatic under the floor, sealed it with cement and then put a refrigerator over it.
"In just two days, his 8-year-old son found it by moving the refrigerator, borrowing a jackhammer and digging up the floor. The boy took the gun to school and sprayed the entire fifth-grade gym class with gunfire."
John Dillinger once said, "There is no way a law-abiding citizen can hide a gun from an 8-year-old child."
Professor Skalet's studies indicate that law-abiding citizens go through as many red lights and exceed the speed limit twice as much as non-law-abiding members of society. They also brag a great deal about breaking the law, except, of course, where their guns are concerned.
In many cases, although they will fight to the death to preserve the Second Amendment, which provides them with the right to bear arms, they keep asking for the First Amendment to be thrown out of court on a technicality.
I mention all this only because I'm sick and tired of senators referring to their constituents as "law-abiding citizens" when they break more laws than the rest of us.
Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.