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Organization's gun facts far from objective [Letter]

Tom Zirpoli made an eloquent, if extremely biased, case for increased gun control in his March 25 column, "More guns equals more deaths," especially by making such contentious statements as "... facts are meaningless to those who choose to ignore them and for those who ... place the gun lobby ahead of citizen safety." Let's look at the source of Zirpoli's facts.

The Violence Policy Center states that it "approaches firearm violence as a public health issue, rather than solely a criminal matter." That is a rather broad charter, with vague criteria for what constitutes gun violence. It has come up with an unrealistically arbitrary number of 33,000 deaths by firearms in 2014 -- a number that Zirpoli is all too happy to cite. Where the Violence Policy Center came up with that number is anybody's guess.

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The Violence Policy Center doesn't sound like a particularly objective source of information. According to its website, it is against federally licensed firearms dealers operating out of their homes; it considers gun shows to be "Tupperware parties for criminals;" and it believes that the NRA, in collusion with the tobacco industry, is marketing firearms to children. Oddly enough, it also accuses the NRA of using "extremist rhetoric."

The Violence Policy Center gets the bulk of its funding from the Joyce Foundation, which focuses on grants for education, employment, the environment, money and politics, culture, and, more specifically, gun violence prevention. Since 2003, the Joyce Foundation has paid grants totaling over $12 million to gun control organizations. Again, this sounds more like an agenda-driven than objective source.

Interestingly, the Joyce Foundation maintains that over 100,000 people in the U.S. are victims of gun violence annually. If there is any remaining question concerning the political leanings of this organization, consider that President Barack Hussain Obama is a former board member.

I wrote some time ago that meaningful dialogue concerning gun control will not happen until both sides start trusting each other. Zirpoli's skewed statements on the issue do nothing to build that trust. But he is entitled to his opinion and is not shy about stating it. I am as well, and intend to make a donation to the NRA Institute for Legislative Affairs each time I see his opinions in print. The pro gun side has its advocating organizations too.

Frederick Frevert

Westminster

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