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The president and his wife live only four blocks from the battlefields of Washington's own Desert Storm.

Sometimes when I pass the White House late at night, I wonder what he and Barbara talk about when they hear the gunfire outside."George, what's that?"

"It's just some street gangs shooting at each other with 9mm Glocks and Uzis. Go to sleep. If you've heard one gun, you've heard them all."

"George, if you can disarm the Russians, why can't you stop the gun proliferation in the United States? I read that the U.S. has enough handguns to kill every child in the United States 100 times over."

"The reason I can get an arms reduction treaty with the Russians is that they don't have a National Rifle Association to deal with. I do. If Yeltsin had the NRA on his back, they wouldn't let him destroy a single MIRV in Siberia."

"Don't the NRA leaders in Washington hear the guns being fired at night?"

"No. Most of their lobbyists live in Virginia. Now say your prayers and go back to sleep."

"George, how did the gangs get their guns?"

"Not legally, I'll tell you that. I've made it perfectly clear that if someone without a driver's license buys a gun, our government will do to them what we did to Saddam Hussein."

"I don't understand why they sell automatic pistols and handguns in the first place. They certainly aren't any good for anything except killing another teenager."

"Barbara, guns don't kill people. The Democratic Congress kills people. They have been holding up my tough crime bill for months now. The criminals know that with a Democratic majority, no one is going to stop them from shooting each other."

"George, that might play in the campaign, but it is not very convincing in the Lincoln bedroom."

"Look, Barbara, we have to be practical about this. I don't like to hear street gangs having a shootout any more than you do. But this is an election year, and no one in his right mind would oppose the NRA on the issue of firearms. If I even hint that I want to register handguns, the gun fighters will throw garbage all over the White House lawn. Besides, Pat Buchanan is for guns, and if I come out against them, he'll have one more right-wing issue to use against me."

"I don't see why you just don't ban all semiautomatic weapons."

"I can't do that. The gun lovers would use it as political ammunition against me, and I am going to have enough trouble mowing down Paul Tsongas as it is."