Ocean City Today

Guns: a rebuttal of a rebuttal

Readers' Forum
Apr 12, 2018



printed 04/13/2018



This letter is in response to Mr. Mitchell’s letter claiming my rebuttal to Mr. Evans was not fact-based. This is not true. As best I could, I checked every fact mentioned using reliable sources.

To deny that the NRA is not a potent lobby defies common knowledge. The NRA keeps a running record on how members of Congress vote, rating them and giving them campaign funds for doing their bidding. The real question is how powerful is the NRA?

When 20 7-8 year olds, just before Christmas, were slaughtered at Sandy Hook, their bodies so riddled with bullets, parents were shown pictures of their children for identification purposes to spare them more pain, the majority of Americans demanded Congress to act in order to prevent future gun tragedies.

The NRA went to work.  They made sure no gun laws were passed and that Republicans fell in line. When a single lobby can thwart the will of the overwhelming majority, that is power.

I stand by my statement that, compared to other modern nations, we are the least safe from gun violence. I would not compare Mexico to the USA. However, it is worth noting that the drug cartels come to the USA to purchase their guns.

As for Great Britain, Mr. Mitchell’s statistics have been debunked over and over. The United States classifies fewer crimes as violent than Great Britain and that is why it is impossible to draw any valid conclusions.

As for gun violence, gun deaths in Great Britain in 2014 was 50-60. In the United States, 8,124. Those are just homicides, not accidental shootings or suicides.

Guns are such a non-problem in Britain, their police officers perform their duties unarmed. Imagine living in a nation where our police officers did not need to carry weapons.

Mr. Mitchell cherry-picks a couple of cities to debunk my claim that states with strict gun laws have lower rates of gun violence. He is wrong.

Here are the top 20 states with the highest rates of gun violence: 1 – Alaska, 2- Louisiana, 3- Mississippi, 4- Alabama, 5- Arkansas, 6- Montana, 7- Wyoming, 8- Oklahoma, 9- New Mexico, 10- Tennessee, 11- South Carolina, 12- Missouri, 13- West Virginia, 14- Arizona, 15- Idaho, 16- Nevada, 17- Kentucky, 18- Indiana, 19- Georgia, 20- Utah.

All 20 states have lax gun laws and all except New Mexico, are controlled by Republicans. Please notice, Illinois and Maryland are not among the top 20. This is not cherry-picking, this is looking at all 50 states.

I stand by my original comment. States with strict gun laws have lower rates of gun violence than states with lax gun laws.

Again, the idea that guns makes us safer is just plain nonsense. If that were true, Ronald Reagan would have never been shot. If that were true, approximately 50 women would not be shot each month.

In fact, a woman is five times more likely to be killed by a gun when one is kept in the home. And studies have shown that a gun in the home is far more likely to be used in an inappropriate shooting than ever stopping a crime.

There is no evidence of gross errors in the data reviewed and in the conclusions reached by the CDC concerning gun violence.

The NRA only claimed that because the CDC-funded research suggested that having a firearm in the home sharply increased the risks of homicide.

In 1996, the NRA used their power to end funding for gun violence research. It was recently reinstated. However, independent studies have proven the findings of the CDC are correct. Guns in the home increase the risks of homicides.

A mass shooting is when at least four people are killed. True, other definitions are suggested, but this is the one the federal government uses and has become the accepted standard regardless of what Mr. Mitchell would have us believe.

Over 7,000 children are hospitalized or killed due to gun violence every year, according to a new study published in the medical journal “Pediatrics.” An additional 3,000 children die from gun injuries before making it to the hospital, bringing the total number of injured or killed adolescents to 10,000 each year.

The article did not break the deaths down by ages, but try telling the parents of a 19-year-old that their child’s age makes a difference.

More and more parents are asking other parents if there is a gun in their home and if yes, is it safely locked away, before allowing their children to visit. As far as the swimming pool goes, approximately 300 children under the age of 5 drown each year.

First, the primary purpose of a pool is not to kill, and second, laws have been passed to help prevent accidental deaths. Let’s do the same with guns.

Mr. Mitchell is wrong about Wisconsin, not according to me, but according to Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. When asked if Wisconsin’s concealed carry law was contributing to Milwaukee’s rampant gun violence, he replied, yes, “Because only convicted felons are barred from permits while “human holsters” with cleaner records hold guns for big-time drug dealers.”

Again, I stand by my original comments. The NRA, in some Republican-controlled states, are passing dangerous gun laws.

If Mr. Mitchell is correct that shooters kill when no one around them is armed, then why was President Reagan shot, and why are police officers killed, and why did the Parkland shooter choose a school where there was an armed guard present?

Again, studies show that the vast majority of mass shootings take place in areas where guns are allowed.

Guns are the problem. They make killing easy and efficient. Any of the gun tragedies we have recently experienced would have been far less horrific if the shooter would not have been able to get a gun.

The Washington Post just published a study revealing that gun homicides increased by 30 percent between 2014 and 2016. Homicides by other methods increased by 2 percent. The belief that guns are not the problem has led to the USA leading the modern world in gun deaths by far. It is time for common sense to prevail.

As for all of Mr. Mitchell’s arguments that the AR-15 is not an assault weapon, and is no different from most other hunting rifles, he is wrong.

In 1957, Armalite gun designer Eugene Stoner was asked by the army to produce a six-pound, high-velocity rifle, firing in semi- and full-automatic modes, with firepower capable “of penetrating a steel helmet or standard body armor at 500 yards.”

Stoner did just that and said that the weapon was designed for military use and had no place in civilian life. Yet Mr. Mitchell would have us believe it is just another hunting rifle.

And yes, we should take the same approach to gun violence that we did with drunk drivers. We legislated successfully to reduce the number of deaths and accidents caused by drunk drivers. We should apply this approach of preventive legislation to reduce gun violence.

We do recognize the dangers of alcohol and have passed laws to curtail the sale of alcohol and its consumption. We should take the same legislative approach with guns to reduce gun violence,

For most of our history, owning a gun was not a right. The Heller decision changed that, but only by a 5-4 decision. But the Heller decision did not change the fact that gun ownership has limits. Even Justice Scalia, who wrote the Heller decision, agreed that some gun restrictions are constitutional.

Some states have acted to pass legislation to reduce gun violence. For example, Maryland’s law to ban semiautomatic rifles and detachable ammunition magazines that exceed 10 rounds was upheld by four federal appellate courts and the Supreme Court has let their decisions stand.

So, we can act successfully to reduce gun violence. But not if we vote Republicans into office, The NRA owns them, including President Trump. Trump, known for his tough negotiating skills, voiced support for raising the legal age to purchase a gun to 21, but quickly backed down after meeting with the powerful NRA gun lobby.

If we want gun laws to protect our citizens from senseless gun violence, we need to vote Democratic. States that have the strictest gun laws have governments controlled by the Democrats.

In the final analysis, it is not a question about gun ownership. It is a question of morality. Do we value guns to such a degree that we refuse to admit any restrictions can be placed on them for any reason whatsoever or do we value creating an environment free of senseless gun violence? I stand with those who value life.

Tom Wallace


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