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Gun Laws and Violence

September 30, 1993

* In response to "If Gun Laws Work, Why Are We Afraid?" Column Right, Sept. 20:

I begin this letter by pointing out that I am a rock-ribbed conservative Republican. Bill Clinton is a total disaster, California's two senators are sob sisters who never met a social program they didn't like, and this country is in a moral morass.

But there is one area where conservatives continually astound me. Namely gun control.

Simply put, the best way for America to stem the tide of crime is to completely do away with firearms. Guns have one purpose: to kill, whether it be animals or humans. The only problem with gun control is that it never goes far enough. Waiting periods are Band-Aids on arterial wounds. We shall only control violent crime in this country by completely banning all firearms in the hands of private citizens.

This is not a solution that will control crime overnight, but will take time to round up all firearms in the hands of the public. It might take up to 20 years to accomplish the desired result, but we must start sometime. This would include not only handguns, but rifles, shotguns and the like.

The militia would still have the firepower necessary to protect us, and if a constitutional amendment is needed, so be it. A start must be made, and to continue to delude ourselves with the illusion that the current minor laws will be effective is idiotic.

GARY O. KENT

Torrance

* J. Neil Schulman proves that he is woefully out of touch with the reality of gun control legislation and handgun violence in this country. For example, he states that "New York City has strict gun control laws and a high rate of violent crime," while "Virginia has less-strict gun laws and a lot less violent crime," and concludes from this that gun control laws are ineffective. This kind of logic is oversimplification in the extreme. The environments of New York City and rural Virginia are completely different, but Schulman nevertheless doesn't recognize that other factors besides gun control legislation contribute to violent crime.

Also, in stating that "gun control has never been shown to reduce violence," he demonstrates complete ignorance from a global perspective. What Schulman and other gun rights extremists fail to recognize are the cold hard facts: The countries with the strictest gun control legislation (Great Britain, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Canada and Switzerland) had a combined total of 291 gun-related deaths in 1990, and the U.S., with the most lax gun laws of any major industrial country, had a total of 10,567 gun-related deaths in 1990. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out!

BRIAN G. ROSS

Venice

* Congratulations on your straightforward article on why more gun laws won't reduce crime. We the people have the right, under the Second Amendment, to own firearms, whether for recreational shooting, competition, hunting, or self-defense. The law-abiding gun owner is not the problem. The problem is the failure of our criminal justice system. Criminals do not respect or fear the criminal justice system. Let's fix the system rather than wasting time harassing the legitimate gun owners.

GEORGE V. BARR

Laguna Beach

* A reader's letter (Sept. 15) implies that the defeat of SB 1128, which would have outlawed high-capacity firearm magazines, protects our freedom from would-be tyrants. It seems to me that the Poles and the Russians won their freedom without this kind of firepower.

We don't need packs of self-appointed "freedom fighters" who are a bigger threat to everybody's freedom than anyone they profess to protect us from.

WILLIAM S. SECKLER

Corona

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