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Handgun licensing won't solve crime

by Dennis Towner

Originally published on this website September 1, 2000

Date sent: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 12:06:28 -0700
To: letters@tracypress.com 

31 August 2000

Editor
Tracy Press
Re: Handgun licensing won’t solve crime

Just like driver licensing won’t solve accidents.

It is widely known that "gun-haters" will lie and manufacture information to suit their agenda: abolition of the Second Amendment and total gun confiscation!

AB273 is simply another step in their crusade to disarm Californians and leave them helpless against the ever increasing violent crime we experience here.

Firearm registration is ALWAYS the precursor to firearm CONFISCATION. It has been used by every country where tyrants wanted to have total control of the people. Cambodia, Germany, Japan, Russia and recently Australia are examples of the incremental nullification of their people’s civil-right to self-protection of themselves, their homes, property and families. Removal of people’s ability to own and use firearms never stopped any crime. In fact, recent studies such as the one by John R. Lott (University of Chicago) proved empirically that the opposite was true. In all States where the carrying of concealed firearms is allowed crime drops drastically and beneficially.

I must take issue with your idea that firearms purchasers should take some stupid little course on safety prior to obtaining a firearm. It is incrementalism at it’s finest! Currently, those of us who have served in the military can substitute a copy of our DD-214 (Separation Form) as proof we served and probably have a clue of what to do with a firearm.

However, words of those wiser than ourselves ring true! "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

--Ben Franklin.

Your use of erroneous statistics was shameful at best. Of the 10 Californians you claim "die each day" most are involved in criminal activity involving drugs and gangs. Same goes for the 100 who you claim are "injured" each day. That would add up to 36,500 Californians being injured by firearms each year and that is just not the case among other than criminals. The National Safety Council sets accidental deaths with firearms at about 1,400 NATIONWIDE. Out of nine categories, accidental firearms deaths rank eighth as opposed to motor vehicle deaths (number one cause) at 45,000 plus.

According to the National Safety Council in 1998, around 41,200 people were killed in automobile accidents; falls claimed 16,600; poisonings killed 8,400; about 4,100 people drowned; and some 3,700 were killed in fires or from burns. Rather than guns being the leading cause of death in the home -- accidental or otherwise -- falls have that dubious honor. In 1998, home accidents in general accounted for about 28,200 fatalities, and about 6.1 million debilitating injuries. Of that figure, falls numbered 10,700. Most people who fell -- more than 86 percent -- were aged 65 or older. Falls are followed by deadly solid and liquid poisonings, fires and burns, and suffocation by ingested object as the leading killers in the home. Of "Deaths and Injuries in the Community," the NSC said, "the five leading fatal causes are falls, drowning, water, air and railroad transportation."

From 1994-96, there were 129,536 deaths from automobile accidents and approximately 350,000 accidental medical deaths. This compares with 47,115 shooting deaths in the same period of time. You are three times more likely to be killed in an motor vehicle accident and six times more likely to die from medical accidents than you would be from a firearm!

As for kids -- the favorite "pull-on-their-heartstrings" line used by liberal gun haters -- firearms are a child's (or a parent's) LEAST serious worry.

In 1998, motor vehicle accident deaths claimed the lives of 2,600 children aged 0 to 14; 200 suffocated to death; 570 were killed by fire or burns; 850 drowned; 70 were poisoned, 160 died from falls; and 40 died from carbon monoxide inhalation. During the same period, guns "principally in recreational activities or on home premises" accidentally killed 110 kids aged 1 to 14 years. Other methods, including "medical and surgical complications and misadventures, machinery, air transport, water transport (except drowning), mechanical suffocation, and excessive cold," killed an additional 500 children.

Using the comparison of cars to firearms, driver’s licenses etc. is specious at best. For one thing, the Constitution did not guarantee us the right to own and drive motor vehicles. The idea that if we just require people to take a little test to own a firearm we will all be safer is stupid and it is reckless. Ask yourself how much safer you are because someone else took a driver’s test. If you were then motor vehicle accidents would be DECREASING, but they aren’t!

Finally, the next time you fire up the car and hit the road consider that you are among thousands of people traveling at incredible speeds in a deadly weapon. One slip up and there can be major consequences. Yet you do it daily. Are you safer because you "assume" the others in their deadly weapons passed a test? Compare that to the number of people you knowingly come in contact with who have a firearm and weigh the odds. Are you safer among folks who are law-abiding people and carry a firearm whether or not they have a license or are you safer on the highways among people who may or may not have a license and if they did wouldn’t change the odds?

Stop being paranoid (perceiving a problem where there is none) about law-abiding folks who own firearms and start worrying about something worth worrying about: you and all the others driving their deadly weapons around.

Firearms are used daily by thousands of law-abiding Americans to stop a crime from happening. In most cases the firearms are never fired. When they are, an honest person, their property and family was saved. When was the last time you heard of a crook using a firearm to save lives?

Dennis Towner
Tracy, California


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