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Seattle PI Gun Show Editorial

Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 09:56:33 -0800 (PST)
From: robert n lyman <rlyman@u.washington.edu>
To: editpage@seattlep-i.com
Subject: Gun show editorial

The best thing I can say about your editorial in favor of gun-show background checks is that it wasn't quite as misinformed and sensational as that published in the Seattle Times last week. But it was close. Some points you ignored:

1) According to the DOJ, guns from gun shows make up fewer than 2% of all guns used in crimes. Since nobody knows if those guns were purchased at licensed dealers or not, nobody knows if the law your editorial pushes will have any effect. It IS known that between 98% and 100% of crime guns will NOT be affected by this law.

2) The Brady bill has had no measurable impact on crime. The highly biased antigun researchers Jens Ludwig and Philip Cook were unable to cook the books enough to produce any statistical evidence that background checks reduce crime. Read all about it at http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v284n5/abs/joc91749.html. Or just read this quote: "...[I]mplementation of the Brady Act appears to have been associated with reductions in the firearm suicide rate for persons aged 55 years or older but not with reductions in homicide rates or overall suicide rates." That is hardly a ringing endorsement, especially for a bill which was so heavily hyped at the time.

3) The elephant in the newsroom isn't just sitting there; it is crashing about breaking things. Criminals don't shop at your local gun store or gun show. Criminals steal their guns or buy them on the black market. Vague promises of "making it more difficult for criminals" notwithstanding, regulations imposed on the legal market have NO EFFECT on people who are willing to break the law. As long as drugs and illegal immigrants find their way to Seattle, so will illegal guns, whether smuggled, stolen, or illegally manufactured. Cracking down on antique collectors at gun shows won't prevent crime any more than banning the sale of aspirin will prevent addiction to cocaine. Rite Aid and gun shows serve different markets than underworld drug and gun runners. This is so obvious (and so thoroughly confirmed by criminologists), I have to imagine that your editors and Ceasefire are intentionally ignoring it in pursuit of your ideology.

Get off the backs of law-abiding gun owners in Washington. We aren't doing anything wrong and are getting sick of PC persecution.

Robert Lyman

Seattle, 98117


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 QUOTES TO REMEMBER
We'll take one step at a time, and the first is necessarily - given the political realities - very modest. We'll have to start working again to strengthen the law, and then again to strengthen the next law and again and again. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down production and sales. Next is to get registration. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and ammunition (with a few exceptions) totally illegal. Pete Shields, founder of Handgun Control, Inc., New Yorker Magazine, June 26, 1976, pg. 53

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