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Facts, Fairytales, and Loopholes

Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 13:11:16 -0800 (PST)
From: robert n lyman <rlyman@u.washington.edu>
To: opinion@seattletimes.com
Subject: "High time to close gun show loophole."

Your editorial calling for closing the gun-show loophole was a shameless propaganda piece.

A quote: "Law-abiding citizens buy from licensed dealers..." So you imply that no law-abiding citizen would want to buy from a private collector?

"But criminals... may be drawn to tables... marked 'private sale.'" (emphasis mine).

True, they may be drawn to such tables. Do your editorial writers care enough to find out, or is unsubstantiated innuendo what passes for critical thought at the Times? Ask the FBI: fewer than 2% of guns used in crimes comes from a gun show, and no one has yet bothered to find out if any of those guns were actually obtained illegally by repeat offenders, or if they were bought legally by people with no criminal history. But why let lack of facts get in the way of some good self-righteousness?

The "slippery slope" argument is not "tired" at all to the residents of California, who can no longer sell a gun to one of their friends without paying a dealer to fill out the paperwork. Nor is the record-keeping associated with background checks harmless in the eyes of Chicago residents, whose government recently convinced a federal judge to hand over the FBI's gun-purchase records, in hopes of finding an otherwise lawful gun owner who had committed a paperwork error.

Meanwhile antigun researchers Ludwig and Cook have concluded, much to their own chagrin, that background checks have not had a measurable impact on crime. You can read it for yourself at: http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v284n5/abs/joc91749.html. It makes little sense to advocate a new law simply because another law with similar provisions is on the books. This is doubly true if the old law has been clearly shown not to fulfill the promises of its backers. Your use of innuendo and speculation in an editorial which is utterly devoid of actual information serves to undermine your credibility. It appears to most gun owners that the Times, and gun-control advocates generally, do not care a whit for truth or reason, and instead are simply out to punish gun owners for being politically incorrect. You can hardly expect much cooperation when you yourselves have poisoned the well.

Robert Lyman
Seattle, WA


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