Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

Gun control is not crime control

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I, too, am disgusted that we train our students to cope with shootings at school instead of doing whatever it takes to prevent them (‘‘An argument for change to gun laws,” Aug. 15 letter).

However; even after the Scotland massacre in 1996, according to the BBC, in 2004-05 the homicide rate was the highest it had been in more than 10 years. In 2006, it had increased by 40 percent over 2005.

Why the increase in homicides if gun control was tightened? The reason is simple; the thugs simply used the next ‘‘tool” they could get to do their bad deeds with, in most cases knives.

Let’s stop making this a gun debate and focus on what the real problem is. There are bad people out there who want to do harm to you and your children, we need to do whatever we can to stop them and protect our loved ones. It’s my right to protect them the way I want to.

So change the laws. Make Maryland a true ‘‘shall issue” state. Get rid of the gun free zones so those with permits can protect the children. Give the people of Maryland the right to choose how and where they protect themselves and their families.

David Hawkins, Beltsville

What is truly tragic is when we fail to learn from the mistakes of others. Holding up the UK’s gun control crusade as an example of crime control illustrates this point.

The 1996 Dunblane shooting happened when local police failed to revoke the killer’s gun license after receiving several complaints from both fellow gun club members alarmed by his instability and neighbors who alleged the killer was a child molester.

Rather than improving police enforcement of existing law, the UK chose instead to outlaw the ownership of handguns. As a consequence of shifting the police focus from the criminal to the crime weapon, the UK violent crime rate has skyrocketed since then, including an increase in the murder rate. Kids in the UK are now routinely stabbed in and out of school rather than shot, reportedly averaging 52 attacks a week in London alone.

By pushing controls on legal gun owners instead of controls on criminals, the UK government committed a blunder that does nothing to prevent crime but does hamper the ability of law-abiding citizens to have a chance of defending themselves from violent criminals. As one person has remarked, ‘‘Gun control is what you do instead of fixing the problem.”

Karan Singh, Rockville