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Letter: Weak arguments against gun control

I found Tom Harbold's Sept. 9 opinion column, "Law won't reduce gun violence," to be a one-sided, skewed and profoundly unhelpful presentation of the gun control issue.

He had a point to make, and no considerations of truth or the public welfare were going to keep him from making it.

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First, he claims that since assault rifles are rarely used in crimes, it's pointless to outlaw them. This ignores the fact that they are frequently used in mass murders, and that there has been a steady stream of generals and police chiefs who have testified that these military-style weapons do not belong in the hands of civilians.

Then he argues that limiting ammunition clips to 10 or fewer rounds won't reduce violent crime. The shooting at the movie theater in Colorado (100-shot drum) and the shooting at a congresswoman's meeting in Arizona (30-shot clip) are just two examples that show the need to limit clip capacity. Any demented person who wants to commit mass murder knows that the more shots he can fire without reloading, the more people he can kill, and the less likely he is to be jumped while reloading.

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Harbold refers to "a nefarious plot to disarm citizens for reasons as yet not revealed." Such ominous and unsubstantiated claims are commonly known as paranoia and are unfortunately at the heart of much right wing politics.

Lastly, there is the least defensible of all pro gun arguments -- that the answer to gun violence is for more people to carry guns. Let's not even think what this would mean when two drunks get into an argument in a bar. Just look at the gun homicide rates in those countries with stricter gun laws and a less obsessive gun culture. Canada, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Belgium all have gun homicide rates of .3 or less per one hundred thousand population. America's rate is 12 times that -- 3.6. If guns make us safer, why are we measurably so much less safe.

One final thought: Pro gun people have a term for those folks who fight every attempt to bring sanity to the issue of gun ownership, who have a mouthful of excuses on why things can never change and who act as quiet enablers for America's gun slaughter. Conservatives like to call these people "law-abiding."

Victor Wilkotz

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Marriottsville

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