To the editor:
Bob Bauer’s Jan. 2 Letter to the Editor espouses some familiar misrepresentations regarding civilian firearms ownership within the United States.
I have yet to understand, much less experience, a “gun show loophole.” Every federal firearms dealer must, by law, conduct a National Crime Information Center check upon every individual that purchases a firearm, regardless of the time and place in which a firearm is sold. There are no loopholes or exceptions to this law.
Private and individual sales of firearms that occur at gun shows, can just as easily occur within the parking lots of Walmart, McDonald’s or in the street in front of Mr. Bauer’s home.
I also don’t understand the preoccupation of the term “assault weapon,” as it has been applied to every make and model of firearms that would even include Mr. Bauer’s deer rifle and duck shotgun. A truly termed assault weapon is a firearm with select fire from full automatic (machine gun), to semi-automatic (one shot for one trigger pull).
These firearms have been heavily and increasingly regulated since the inception of the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Owner’s Protection Act of 1986. The media sensation of any firearm that is cosmetically similar to a machine gun, is somehow transformed into a machine gun, still mystifies me, and gun owners such as Mr. Bauer who continue to swallow the hyperbole of the term, is a continued source of amazement.
The “tougher restrictions” to which Mr. Bauer writes, occurred with New York City’s Sullivan Act of 1911 that effectively disarmed all the people of the city of all weapons for the past 102 years, including chemical mace and electric stun guns — save those individuals that have enough political clout to obtain governmental permission to possess a firearm. The advent of electronic communications and community policing has more likely had a greater influence upon the effect of reduced violent crime than more laws that subject people to disarm even more.
In the United States, a demonstration of private ownership of guns can be shown to reduce crime, but a country-to-country comparison doesn’t correlate between gun availability and the violent crime rate because of the significant differences in data collection between countries.
However, the use detailed data can contrast the per capita violent crime rate with the per capita gun ownership rate between different countries, which demonstrates increased violent crime in those countries which have substantially disarmed their citizenship. Australia, the U.K. and Canada have all experienced well documented and significant spikes in violent crimes since instituting gun control measures.
Only law-abiding people obey the law. Purporting false details of firearms ownership in an effort to restrict gun ownership will have little bearing upon criminal acts, as no law will effectively stop the criminal element from carrying out their criminal deeds, though the intervention of one prepared to effectively combat a criminal in his misdeeds could have prevented such a tragedy as Sandy Hook.
In the end, however, the requisite changes need to first occur within the human heart; as only love, understanding, and active compassion for one’s neighbor are the only true means to halt such tragedies before they occur.