Friday, February 11, 2011

Op ed: Non-Profit Times has it wrong

I am a subscriber to the Non Profit Times and read their magazine cover to cover when it arrives. This month I was intrigued when I saw an image of bullets overlaying an American Flag ... directly below a picture of Congresswoman Giffords. So I read the article which was written by Paul Clolery, Editor in Chief of NPT and then gave Mr. Clolery a call. He was very pleasant on the phone when I told him I would like to submit an opposing viewpoint and asked if they would publish it. He indicated they would take a look and encouraged me to send it over. Here is the text of the letter I sent:

Mr. Clolery,

I read ‘America’s Listening Tour, Intelligent people with opposing ideas can compromise’ with great interest as I was hoping to see a logical discussion in a public forum about gun laws and gun safety in these United States. Sadly what I read was an inaccurate and emotional diatribe against a foundational right that is guaranteed, not granted, by the Constitution. The framers of the Constitution understood that the right to keep and bear arms was already imputed to all human beings by their Creator (their words). The 2nd Amendment simply acknowledges this right and guarantees that said right cannot be infringed upon by any governing body. Furthermore, the language of the 2nd Amendment makes no mention of hunting, sporting, or protection within one’s home. It intentionally makes no mention of restrictions to the citizen, only to the government with the ‘infringement’.

I take issue with your use of the phrase ‘spray bullets fast than the human mind can count’ which is more hyperbole than fact and is designed to elicit and emotional response rather than a logical one. You are singling out a lone nutjob who was NOT legally in possession of a handgun, nor did he legally purchase it. At the time of purchase, Jared Lee Loughner was a prohibited person due to his chronic drug use. He lied on his form 4473. Additionally, had the Sheriff in Tuscon done his job and prosecuted Loughner the two times he had arrested him, or the Army reported their rejection of Loughner as a recruit because of drug use, or someone at Pima County College reported his repeated bizarre outbursts in class, perhaps his purchasing of THAT particular gun  could have been avoided with a NICS check.

You also state that, ‘Every American should have the right to protect themselves in their homes with a legal weapon of choice.’ I agree that every American DOES have the right to protect themselves in their home; the 2nd Amendment guarantees that right. Every American also has the right to protect themselves outside of their home with a legal weapon of their choice. There is no magical force-field that surrounds us when we walk out of our front door. Car-jackings,muggings, rapes, assaults and a slew of other crimes occur outside the home every day – why would you
limit one’s ability to defend themselves in these situations? The facts are this: you are MORE likely to survive a violent assault if you defend yourself with a gun. In episodes where a robbery victim was injured, the injury/defense rates were:

- Resisting with a gun 6%
- Did nothing at all 25%
- Resisted with a knife 40%
- Non-violent resistance 45%

I would point you to http://www.gunfacts.info which is a wonderful reference guide for journalists, activists, politicians and other people interested in honest facts about guns, crime and the 2nd Amendment.

The debate about 31 round magazines is interesting. How many rounds are acceptable and why the arbitrary ten or less? Many handgun standard magazines carry more than 10 rounds. Handguns that fire 9mm and .40 caliber rounds routinely have 15, 17 or 19 round magazines. 30+ round magazines are not conducive to concealment on a person’s body and are not generally used in concealed-carry handguns; however for home defense they can be invaluable.Unlike the depictions on TV and in Hollywood, a single pistol gunshot wound does not immediately stop an attacker. Most handgun wounds (80%) are survivable and it can take multiple shots to stop an attacker and depending on shot placement, several minutes. Add to this that home invasions generally consist of multiple attackers and you can see why an arbitrary 10 round limitation does not make sense.

Finally, I completely agree with you that the rhetoric needs to be ratcheted down. These issues will not be solved by hot headed zealots on either side, but by calm and rational discourse as we have here.

Warm regards,

Mark Steele
Monroe, New Jersey

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