Current gun control not the answer

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor,

     Mr. Hanken’s letter on gun control made several points which are not supported by the facts.

     We must remember that, after a 10-year ban on the sale of such weapons ended, the Department of Justice concluded that renewing assault weapons and magazine bans would have an effect on gun violence that is “small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. Assault weapons were rarely used in crime even before the ban.”

     While “you can’t really say that any of these deaths would occur if shooting weapons were not available,” you cannot assume that some homicides would not result from other means. You also cannot assume that strict gun control laws would make guns unavailable to anybody but the law-abiding. Mexico, with only one gun store in the country, and the Bahamas have oppressive gun control laws. Both are awash in gun violence. Mexico’s and the Bahamas’ gun homicide rates are, respectively, over three times and six times that of the United States.

     Mr. Hanken’s concern about firearms accidents ignores the facts. Fatal gun accidents declined by 66 percent from 1,441 in 1991 to 486 in 2019. The unintentional firearms fatality rate was .2 per 100,000 in 2011, a decline of 94 percent since records began to be kept in 1903. As of 2011, fatal gun accidents counted for 0.5 percent of all unintentional fatalities in the United States. They rank as one of the lowest causes of injury.

     Mr. Hanken suggests that there is merely a belief that the Second Amendment ensures the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which is not restricted to “those involved in a militia.” It is not just a belief. It is the law as construed by the United States Supreme Court in the Heller decision. Even before Heller, Prof. Roy Copperud, the leading grammarian in the United States, concluded that the Second Amendment declared a general right of the people and was not restricted to “those involved in a militia.”

     Regardless of whether Mr. Hanken believes the AR-15 is not essential for hunting, it is commonly used for that purpose. As far as the damage it will do the human body, the damage inflicted by .223 ammunition would be far exceeded by even such a mild cartridge as the 30-30 Winchester, let alone other traditional hunting cartridges such as the .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, 308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield, due to the far greater energy delivered by those cartridges.

     Mr. Hanken opposes the sale of .50 BMG caliber rifles to the public. These heavy, bulky rifles are used for long distance target shooting. In 1999, a GAO report revealed a total of one crime committed with such a rifle.

     Mr. Hanken’s speculation that “the more available guns are, the less likely these random killings and mass murders are going to stop” is unsupported by evidence. In fact, while the number of privately owned guns increased by 92 percent from 1993 to 2013, the firearms homicide rate decreased by 49 percent during the same period. There is no direct correlation between the number of available firearms and the frequency of homicide.

     Mr. Hanken says he is “willing to allow a little gun control.” The harsh fact is that Biden’s gun control would either turn millions of Americans into felons by banning “assault weapons” possession or impose a tax so high as to force them to give up their guns to government confiscation. Biden’s universal background checks would make it a crime for you to lend a gun to a friend unless your friend first underwent a background check at some unknown cost.

     In the meantime, President Biden’s son Hunter apparently committed a felony by lying on Form 4473, while purchasing a firearm, and falsely claiming he was not a drug addict. No criminal investigation is being done. Biden’s lesson is clear. Gun control for thee, but not for me!


Donald W. Bohlken

(former Monticello area resident)

Indianola, Iowa


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