Dear THE EDITORS,
America traditionally holds itself out to young people as a beacon of liberty, hope and freedom. It has in recent years become the opposite. Mass shootings and the horror of lawlessness have become normality and crime is surging once again. Americans feel less safe day by day. When I came across your article, “Gun control isn’t the answer”, I was appalled by the fact that you have ruthlessly instrumentalized and falsely interpreted data to fit your simple view. The fundamental premise of your article rests on the belief that additional restrictions on gun ownership would not prove effective, and that the police and state are to blame for the murders committed with guns, not the weak laws surrounding their ownership. You also seek to smear any sensible ideas about gun control as being “left wing” hypocrisy. There is no doubt that the Government and its agencies have failed in protecting its citizens from gun violence, but the Gun Lobby has been very successful in pursuit of its agenda in the White House too. Republicanism is synonymous with law and order, but republicans ignore anarchy created by the posession of guns.
"Republicanism is synonymous with law and order, but republicans ignore anarchy created by the posession of guns.
It may take time, but for America the war on terror should begin at home by changing gun laws.
The main argument that your article propagates, is that further restrictions on gun ownership would prove ineffective in reducing the number murders committed with guns. You state that “for homicidal spectaculars … additional gun-control measures are unlikely to prove effective”, which neglects to consider the implications of gun restrictions on the average civilian, where they would be effective in preventing the everyday gun crimes. Claiming that the “Florida shooter had no criminal record... and so he was able to purchase rifles...” and that “the police and FBI failed to look seriously into him after receiving credible warnings of his murderous intent” contradicts your general stance, as the current weak regulations evidently did not prevent this murderer from buying a gun in the first place and tragically massacring 17 innocent teenagers with it.
American politicians need only too look across the pond to save their children from bloodshed. In Australia, the total number of homicides involving a firearm more than halved after the so-called “gun law reform” was passed in the wake of a brutal mass shooting. The acquisition of guns was prohibited for most people, and self defense was not a valid reason for buying firearms anymore. With a bit of imagination the same could be possible in America.
You also make the argument that it would be beneficial to provide “better gatekeeping” and armed guards for increased protection in schools. However, it is unlikely that a gatekeeper or a armed guard would be able to secure a school from most threats or see if somebody is concealing a gun, if no expensive appliances like metal detectors are in place. Many schools have already taken extra security precautions and are still at great risk. The only thing that your suggestion would achieve is increased expenditure for an already strained educational system. It is obvious that the need for these precautions, and the general paranoia which results from them, would cease to exist if many American youths did not have easy access to lethal weapons in the first place.
"Endless rampages and mass shootings in the U.S
While endless rampages and mass shootings in the U.S continue, you choose to label the act of criticizing the use of an .223-caliber, AR-pattern rifle as “ignorant fear mongering”. Anybody that dares to question the current gun laws, like the acclaimed Dr. Ernest. E. Moore, is immediately denounced as pathetic, “fear-mongering” idiot. While Moore argues that; “an assault rifle is designed to deliver fatal wounds”, you state that “AR-style rifles are used in everything from small-game hunting to competitive marksmanship”. Are you that naïve, or are you just pretending to be? Let me remind you that just about anybody can purchase guns in your country, and the majority of people won’t be using them for field sports. The battle on terror should begin at home by combatting assault rifles not anyone daring to criticize the use of them.
Surely it would be possible to start by banning gun ownership for anyone with a criminal record, before introducing more specific restrictions. In the UK, an evaluation of a person's suitability to own a gun is a prerequisite for obtaining a gun license in addition to strict regulations on the storage of guns. It is a heavy responsibility to certify that a person could never be a risk to themselves or others. Of course it might “be found to be unconstitutional”, but a change in the constitution is the only way forward for America.
Don’t get me wrong; police and security forces have a crucial role to play in preventing gun murder, especially if terrorism is involved. And yes, the statement you make that “the police and FBI failed to look seriously into” the parkland shooter is correct, but it’s impossible for them to do so. Of the 38353 Americans killed by guns in 2016, only 71 people died in an mass shooting. 14,415 where homicides, and 22,938 were suicides. That’s more than 60%. If the primarily innocent and inconspicuous civilians committing suicide can easily access guns, then what has become of your perfect, American dream? The truth is, that about 18% of Americas adults face mental health issues, and 6.7 have depression. How can any health care, police or national security system seek out all of these people and prevent them from buying dangerous fire-arms, with which they could kill themselves or others? In a country with 325,7 million inhabitants, and a society where there have been 1,624 mass shootings in 1,870 days this might prove more than a challenge.
So, while your article ignores the plight of millions, let's dedicate ourselves to creating a meaningful change in American politics instead.