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Crimes Using Firearms Are Preventable

November 04, 2002

Re "Crime Up in 2001, FBI Says," Oct. 29: Let's not assume this is a done deal. The dramatic declines in the 1990s were no accident, despite the fact that experts can't pinpoint a single reason. Why should they be? Violence has many causes and, so, many solutions. In our state, for example, there was an enormous increase in funding for youth crime and violence prevention programs, from $8.3 million in fiscal year 1992-93 to $373.7 million in fiscal year 2001-02. About half as many handguns were sold in 2000 as were in 1993 and, what a surprise, in 2000 there were half as many homicides because of firearms.

Crime, and the violence associated with it, is not inevitable -- it's preventable. We know because the declines we saw in the 1990s were, in large part, because of the concerted efforts of communities united across the state to reduce the number of handguns available and shift some of California's resources to prevention. It worked, and it can keep working if we keep at it. This is no time to stop doing what we know works, from Escondido to Mendocino.

Lori Dorfman

Director, Berkeley Media

Studies Group

Berkeley

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When will the American people realize that handguns and assault rifles are "weapons of mass destruction"? They are merely accomplishing the job of the murder of innocent civilians gradually.

Leonard M. Linde

Los Angeles

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