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ISSUE 118 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/8/2004

Weapons article not at all accurate

By Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer


Friday, October 8, 2004

After having read the Manitou Messenger's publishing policy, which states that "Letters containing [...] misleading information must be rewritten before publication," I concluded that whoever the editor of the Opinions section is, was asleep at the wheel when last Friday's paper went to press.

I will explain why, but before I do, a brief disclaimer: I happen to be the son of a card-carrying member of the NRA and am a supporter of the Libertarian Party. I personally own a semi-automatic shotgun and a bolt action .22-caliber rifle, so this article will contain bias. But then if it did not, it would be somewhere else in the paper.

To begin with, Megan Sutherland, in the Oct. 1 article Ban expires, but worries still persist, makes it sound as though when the assault weapons ban ends, people will be wandering the streets with fully automatic weapons to a much greater degree than they do now.

This is blatantly false, as fully automatic weapons were the first weapons to be made illegal, in the 1930s. If the ban is not passed again, you will not see people walking around with Uzis, AK-47s, M-16s, MP5s or any other similar weapon any more than you would have beforehand.

Those who lawfully own fully automatic weapons must submit to an extensive background check by the federal government, give up their rights against search and seizure by government agents and pay a hefty tax.

As for the "model of other nations," I would like to see some statistics on that.

All of the statistics I have ever seen on the subject indicate that the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and many other Western nations, shortly after banning most firearms, had instances of violent crime (while still less than those, overall, of the United States) explode.

That is to say, instances of rape, assault, armed robbery and murder increased. According to an October 2000 article published in Reason magazine, instances of armed robbery in Australia alone jumped 73 percent between 1996 and 1998.

In Germany, between 1992 and 1995, firearms-related murders jumped 76 percent, according to a May 1998 study (which can be found in the Library of Congress) entitled "Firearms Regulations in Various Foreign Countries."

In Canada, instances of burglary have risen above that of the United States, while overall crime rates between similar Canadian and American cities have otherwise remained the same.

While crime in the United States is insanely high, the guns are not what is doing this to us. We are doing this to us. Of course, what the argument really boils down to is common sense. Hypothetically, would you rather assault someone who might have a gun or someone who you know does not have a gun? So, does any effective weapons ban make you safer? The answer is no. One look at the statistics and we see this. Now, if we got an administration in office that got tough on crimes related to illegal gun ownership under current gun laws, that would be a start.


 Joshua Refling 08


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