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Firearms solve problems

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In response to Andrea Laidman’s article (“The unwell, unregulated militia,” Feb. 11) Ms. Laidman writes that officials in Washington, D.C. worry about lifting the city’s handgun ban and “respond that lifting the ban will only make violence worse.” However, she does not stop to ask an even more obvious question: Is it possible that Washington’s harsh and restrictive gun laws caused the high level of violence in the first place?

The facts seem to indicate yes. England has much more restrictive laws than America and a higher rate of violent crime than the United States (in 1996, a 25 percent higher rate of robbery in England, as seen in the study “Crime and Justice in the United States and in England and Wales, 1981-1996” by U.S. Department of Justice.) One very plausible explanation for this is that criminals in places with accessible firearm laws are deterred from some crimes by the prospect of being injured by law-abiding citizens who keep and bear arms, while in places with harsh and unconstitutional firearm laws, criminals lack this fear.

Laidman points to acts of violence involving firearms: killing police officers, children, and parents. This is not the sign of a firearm-initiated problem, this is a sign of grave and serious family and community problems.

Finally, Laidman claims that precedent is on the side of those who wish to ban handguns. But this is incorrect, for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense have been an American tradition (and precedent) since 1776. And the part of the Second Amendment that says “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” could not be more clear. Furthermore, even George Washington said that a”free people … ought to be armed.”

Michael Baznik


Zahm Hall

Feb. 12