This is in regard to the two letters on gun control in the Jan. 9 Viewpoints section.
To Leslie Roberts [Keep the ban on concealed guns]: When the Constitution was written, we were no longer colonies. We were given the Second Amendment to protect ourselves against tyranny. That principle remains true today. The fact that guns can be used against criminals is an extra benefit.
To Bernie Pitzel [Long live the NRA, short live the rest of us]: The NRA is no more responsible for this tragedy than General Motors is when some doofus decides to drive drunk.
Now, to the main issues:
Every time there is a mass shooting, the public calls for more gun control. Let's start where we can both agree. There are too many mass shootings. The question is will more gun control solve the problem? Consider this: criminals are crazy, not stupid. If you want to shoot a large number of people, where will you go? To an NRA meeting or to a gun-free school? If the presence of guns were the problem, we would expect there to be a mass shoot-out every time there is a gun show. Instead, where do the mass killings happen? Shopping malls, gun-free movie theaters and schools.
If more gun ownership is the problem, then why do we not hear more about Kennesaw, Ga., the village that required its heads of household to purchase and keep a gun? Should not that village have degenerated into Wild West chaos? Actually, the crime rate plummeted since the passing of this ordinance, and no one has been involved in a fatal shooting. Criminals are not going to go where they may encounter someone with a gun. They are going to go somewhere they know their prey are unarmed, like Chicago.
It is quite understandable to want to take action when mass killings occur, especially children. We need to take the right action. SWAT teams needed 11 minutes to get to Sandy Hook Elementary School. That is 11 minutes that the killer had free reign at the school. If the principal or some of the teachers had been armed, they could have shot the killer before he killed so many people. Contrast Sandy Hook with Winnemuccas, Nev., 2008; Appalachian School of Law, 2002; Santee Calif., 2001; Pearl High School, Miss., 1997; and more where an armed civilian or off-duty policeman took out the gunman before there was a mass killing.
Excessive gun control laws ensure that guns are only in the hands of the criminals. We need to get guns into the hands of the good guys.