Letters to the Editor

March 2, 2014

Letter | Concealed weapons expansion could drive already high gun-death rate higher

Quite frankly I am appalled at the latest law passed in South Carolina relating to the issue of concealed weapons and the right to carry them in bars and restaurants.

Quite frankly I am appalled at the latest law passed in South Carolina relating to the issue of concealed weapons and the right to carry them in bars and restaurants.

Some time ago I wrote a letter to you on another subject that started with the following statement: “Many people believe that the fewer regulations promulgated by any government, the better for us. They believe the “nanny state” and bureaucrats should let each of us manage our own life as we see fit. In many cases this can be a reasonable approach.

“However, there are many situations where reasonable regulations, fairly enforced are good for society. Many of these are self evident, such as laws to address a wide range of criminal activity”.

An area that received a mixed response for a long time was the rights of smokers versus non-smokers. That has finally been settled, Almost everyone now accepts laws that regulate where a smoker can light up and acknowledges the correlation of smoking to cancer and other debilitating diseases. The number of smokers has declined significantly in the United States and Europe etc.

Similarly most states now have various regulations on the use of seat belts, motor cycle crash helmet use, no text and drive and so on, as there is proven evidence this improves road safety and saves lives and reduces insurance rates.

Perhaps the case of gun rights will take a similar long time to resolve. I do not appreciate gun rights activists citing their right without consideration of my right to live in a reasonable secure society, without people carrying concealed weapons. Law and order are there to maintain the peace, not vigilantes. In many countries tellers, cashiers and others in like positions are instructed to offer no resistance in the event of armed robbery.

Money can be replaced. Lives cannot.

The statistical data on murders, that I obtained from web searching, follows. It is generally agreed that most murders involve the use of guns. Therefore, if one views the statistics on murders, one may get an idea on the appalling toll the use of guns has in our world.

Using a yearly rate per 100,000 of population reveals some interesting comparisons. (The world average is around 7.0, total of about 466,000 murders). As one might expect, the worst areas in the world are in Africa, South America and the Caribbean with rates between 17.0 and 29.0.This can be expected as they have poor economies, widespread corruption, woeful policing and in many cases major drug issues. Mexico has a deplorable rate of 23.7. The three worst countries since 1995 have consistently been either EI Salvador, Honduras or Colombia. Mind you the rate for Russia is also not good at 9.7 (13,800) with the Ukraine at 5.2 (2,300 or so)

But for the highly developed countries one would expect very low rates. This is true in most Western European countries (a combined population roughly equivalent to

the United States, where it is an average of 1.0 (total about 3,000). Canada is 1.6 (550 on a small population of around 35 million), whereas the recent data for the United States is 4.7 (14,600). All of these countries have good economies, good policing and so on.

The only difference I can determine is the attitude to guns.

Need I say more?

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.

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