The problem is not guns

Letter to the editor 2/7/13 edition

February 7, 2013 

Dear Editor,

In response to Alan Cheah's column, 'The Gun Economy,' in the Jan. 31 edition of the Sierra Star, here is some factual counterpoints. The FBI's recent crime report noted a nearly 50% drop in both violent crime and the murder rate between 1992 and 2011. This occurred at the same time the number of firearms increased dramatically -- including the sale of over six million "assault weapons." And more specifically, those same government statistics show "assault weapons" accounted for only 0.5% of gun murders in 2011.

More guns, but less crime. Guess what? The problem is not legally owned guns. The problem is criminals and illegal guns. And stricter gun controls limit neither. Consider Chicago, a city with the toughest gun control laws in the nation. But don't go walking anywhere after dark. There were more than 500 murders in Chicago last year. Most were tied to gangs and drugs.

My point? Criminals will find ways to get guns. But when law abiding citizens can't, they will become defenseless victims.

Others legitimately questioned the validity of your article, Mr. Cheah. In response, you redirect attention by vilifying the NRA and gun profiteers. You're terribly wrong. The fear you mock is grounded firmly in the historical record of this nation's birth and substantiated by the 20th century. The "shot heard round the world," occurred when British troops marched on Concord and Lexington to confiscate the arms of citizen militias (1775).

The 20th century recorded tyrannical governments in Germany, Russia, China and other nations murdering more than 100 million of their own people. But first, these regimes disarmed their citizens. Our Constitution, the Second Amendment it mandates, says it will not happen here and 60 million legally armed patriots agree.

This has never been about economy, sport or hunting. It's always been about our right to self-defense.

Steve Hall, North Fork

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