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America held hostage by anti-firearms policies | Letters
“How long, oh...how long are we to be made hostage…” to the well-meaning, misinformed people, who innocently believe that legislation aimed at law-abiding Americans will reduce the number and severity of violent acts committed by criminals?
Examples of such legislation working and failing (attribution available):
— Chicago, IL: With among the most restrictive firearms laws in the U.S.A, up to a dozen shootings by criminals occur each weekend. Recently, six occurred in a three-hour period. Legislation apparently did not disarm the criminals, but law-abiding citizens are unable to insure their own safety.
— Washington, D.C.: Many laws restricting firearms ownership were struck down when challenged in the US Supreme Court (District of Columbia v. Heller, 2008). In this violence-plagued city, there was an immediate reduction in violent crime and burglaries.
— Kennesaw, Cobb County, GA: In 1982, the city council unanimously adopted an ordinance mandating that each household maintain ammunition and a firearm in working order (with certain exceptions); since then, crimes have been reduced to less than half the national average.
In a perfect world, as apparently envisioned by Mary Frances McElfresh (“Gun policies hold America hostage”, Aug. 15, pg. 6), both criminals and the law-abiding would obey a law to turn in their firearms.
This perspective is flawed, even if attractive: criminals, by definition, do not obey laws; however, the law-abiding who disarm are left at the mercy of ever-better-armed criminals. Nationwide, with over 20,000 laws restricting firearms, it is unreasonable to presume that more laws will make criminals more law-abiding.
As a former law enforcement officer, I confess to having the same reflex to firearms violence: ban firearms. As an informed citizen and an NRA instructor committed to safety, my focus is on skills, judgment, and knowledge of often contradictory firearms laws.
I hope this letter has objectively and unemotionally addressed this charged issue. Only fact-based education provides a genuine forum for knowledgeable discussion. Professionally taught classes are available on San Juan Island.
Paul Arroyo/Friday Harbor