To reply to the letter from Chris Ullmeyer (“Do the research before leaping to gun-death conclusions”) on March 16 in response to my earlier letter, I offer the following comments.
1. After I had written the letter and submitted it to the editor, the proposed law, which was seriously flawed in that it did not include certain basic requirements such as proper background checks, licensing and so on, was not enacted.
2. I agree fully with some of the statistics quoted by Mr. Ullmeyer as they totally support my contention that it is the attitude towards guns that needs to change. There are just too many guns in the United States, including a large number of assault weapons, making it easy for criminals to obtain them.
3. To say that “gun laws are only for law abiding citizens” is ludicrous. The laws are for all citizens. Yes it is mostly criminals who use weapons illegally and indiscriminately, but without such laws would it not be worse? (Visions of the old west?) How could you prosecute and confiscate guns from the perpetrators if you had no laws? Also, there have been many cases where mentally disturbed persons who had easy access to serious assault weapons, have gone on killing sprees. Again the thinking and attitude to owning weapons needs to change.
4. His point that major U.S. cities have gangs and a major drug problem, thus giving rise to a large number of murders, is valid. But why is that the case? Other western countries have large cities and like problems (probably not to the same extent as the United States), but the murder statistics show America has a rate nearly five times the average of that of other developed western (European) countries. (Again why is that?) Perhaps the America has other major issues that need attention.
5. To cite Hitler, Stalin and the like in this context is mind boggling. Is Mr. Ullmeyer suggesting that if all citizens had been armed, the Holocaust would not have happened?
6. I understand some Western European countries expect their citizens to undergo rigorous training with guns, but they have a healthy respect for the control and limitation on numbers and availability. Again good laws and a totally different attitude.