More guns won't make us safer

The research is clear: More guns and easier access to them won't make us safer.

It's hard to decide where to begin when responding to the letter, "Gun control makes us less safe" (March 16), regarding his perception of the perils of gun control. The author alleges that more guns will make our society safer, and that the only people carrying guns in our state are criminals. He claims that more guns equal less crime, and, without citation of any statistics or research, purports that rape would be almost nonexistent.

Because much of Congress takes its cues (and money) from the National Rifle Association, our nation's firearms legislation is tilted toward the financial gains of weapons and ammunition manufacturers, and our gun-violence research has largely been suppressed. We are fortunate in Baltimore to have the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, and their website supplies research-based facts on the impact of guns in the home, in the hands of youth, domestic-violence offenders, and the mentally ill, urban gun use, gun trafficking, and other topics relating to the criminal use of firearms.

It is a simplistic theory to say all we, as a community, have to do to fight crime is Rambo up and arm every man, woman, and child. More bullets flying cannot reasonably be considered a solution. In fact, in order to reduce gun violence, researchers at Hopkins found that opposite actions hold true. States with stricter gun laws and harsher punishments have shown gun-related homicides and suicides have diminished by 40 percent.

Women in America are 16 times more likely to be murdered by gun violence, and every month an average of 50 women are shot and killed by a current or former domestic partner. The accepted definition of the term "mass shooting" is one event in which four or more people are killed or injured. The United States is the world leader. Terrorist organizations have encouraged members to head to their local gun shops because arms acquisition here is astonishingly simple. With almost 89 guns per 100 residents, the United States is wallowing in bullets. And still people cling to the notion that guns make us safer.

The NRA has led our nation's firearms conversation. The organization and its lobbyists have encouraged the myth that guns are woven into the fabric of our culture. In addition, they persist in fomenting fear and paranoia in an effort to sell more guns to fight off bad guys, an ideology that isn't supported by statistics and in no way represents their original membership of hunters and sportsmen. It has been proven time and again that a gun in the home vastly increases the chance that the firearm will be used in an act of violence against someone in that residence, or as a means of suicide, yet the NRA promotes gun ownership as a patriotic way of life.

If you want to help promote rational gun legislation, join an organization such as Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Sandy Hook Promise, or another like-minded group. Rational gun ownership will help make a safer home, and reasonable gun legislation will go a long way to create a safer society.

Andrea Koller, Towson

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