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Prop. E: Views on Ballot Measure on Guns

March 02, 1995

Redondo Beach voters have a profound choice on March 7: whether to approve or reject an advisory measure urging state legislators to liberalize California's policy on issuing concealed weapons permits. I urge you to vote "no" on Proposition E.

Redondo Beach conducted a nationwide search to find a top-notch professional in Police Chief Mel Nichols, only to ignore his counsel, stating that he does not advise the more indiscriminate issuance of concealed weapons permits.

One year ago, two Palos Verdes Estates police officers were killed by a masked gunman in Torrance. One of the slain officers, Redondo resident Capt. Michael Tracy, was a South Bay Medal of Valor Award recipient.

As an Aviation High School graduate, I have an interest in preserving a "safe and sane" environment in the city of my birth. I support the city's Safer City and Safer Schools programs, but feel their concurrent goal--to reduce crime--will be severely undermined by Proposition E.

I hope as responsible voters, you will consider all of the adverse implications of Proposition E, and reject it for the sake of my family and yours.

NANCY FORREST

Redondo Beach

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Frank O'Leary's letter (Feb. 2, South Bay section) in opposition to Proposition E is another attempt to manipulate the public opinion on gun control and is based more on hysteria than on logic or fact.

Mr. O'Leary would have us believe that law-abiding citizens do not possess the intelligence, responsibility or common sense necessary to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon for personal protection. Criminals rely on the fact that citizens go unarmed to perpetrate their violent acts. Why would Mr. O'Leary and others require that we conform our behavior to the actions of such thugs?

Yes, the police do an outstanding job, but they cannot be all places at all times. Mr. O'Leary's fear of a citizen shootout stemming from a vaguely perceived threat is unfounded. Florida, for example, had a murder rate (11.4 per 100,000 citizens) that highly exceeded the national average (8.3) before the enactment of the state's concealed carry law in 1987. By 1992, Florida's murder rate (9.0) had dropped below the national average (9.3). In 1993 Florida's murder rate dropped to 8.9 per 100,000 inhabitants and the overall crime rate also dropped.

A "yes" vote on Proposition E will send a message to our elected representatives that citizens still have the intellect and wherewithal to control their own lives.

MICHAEL C. POULIOT

Redondo Beach

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I am writing to oppose Proposition E on the Redondo Beach March 7 ballot. Proposition E is an advisory measure on whether the state should make it easier to carry a concealed weapon. But this measure has very real consequences and will not make Redondo safer.

In California, local police chiefs make the decision about who should be able to carry a concealed weapon. I believe that this policy is the only way to guarantee checks and balances. Current regulations in Redondo Beach require liability insurance and range qualifications. Proposition E is silent on these very important issues.

I do not believe that it makes Redondo Beach safer if people whom I do not know are carrying guns. Can I trust them not to shoot at someone if I, or someone in my family, is standing nearby? Can I trust them to de-escalate rather than escalate a situation? Can I trust that a teen-ager or child won't find that gun in a pocket or purse and intentionally or unintentionally do harm to him / herself or someone else with it?

Widely respected studies show that guns are connected, at an alarming rate, to teen-age suicide and accidental deaths among children. According to the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young adults in the United States, after car crashes and homicides. In 1990, 1,332 youths ages 15 to 19 killed themselves with guns. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, 81% of suicide attempts with guns are successful.

Do you trust ordinary citizens to carry a concealed weapon safely? I do not. I do, however, trust the award-winning officers of the Redondo Beach police force. I have been lucky enough to go through the Redondo Beach Citizens Police Awareness Academy. In that class, I learned about the rigorous and ongoing training our officers undergo to learn in what situations to shoot a gun and in what situations to use their brains and their voices to defuse and reduce violence.

Local surveys show that Redondo Beach voters do not support this proposition. But don't sit at home on March 7 and let someone else decide this issue for you. Take a stand. Vote no on Proposition E.

VANESSA POSTER

Redondo Beach

Poster is the chairwoman of the Redondo Beach Youth Commission .

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As a member of the Redondo Beach Crime Commission, I want to add my voice to the chorus of responsible citizens who have come out against Proposition E on the March 7 ballot.

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