Published: Jan 29, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 27, 2013 05:05 PM
It’s the 1770s in colonial America. We are facing terror attacks from people who live in the same country that we do (Native Americans), we are suspicious of supporting a standing army from our experiences in Europe and we have a lot of slaves that are escaping and who might just rebel violently.
What can we do? We call upon every able-bodied man to be prepared to do his turn defending the colony in the state militia. To do so, he needs his own weapon and to spend time joining with others to keep the peace and return stolen property. If such a thing is not enshrined in the new constitution, Virginia may not join the other colonies.
And so we have the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights.
Of the original reasons for empowering state militias, what remains?
We have a standing army, and a National Guard, our Native Americans are not conducting war on us, slavery has been abolished and Virginia has joined the United States. For what reason are we encouraging so many of our citizens to buy and carry weapons? Is it to defend against other citizens who are also carrying weapons? Isn’t that circular reasoning? Janice Pinchot Woychik Chapel HillDogmatic Dems
Jerry VanSant (CHN, Jan. 20, bit.ly/WhVLOG
) attempts to rebut my assertion that “far more people are killed by drunk drivers than madmen with assault rifles.” His rebuttal uses statistics that while true, have no bearing on my argument. Since the centerpiece of the Democrats’ solution is an assault-weapon ban, I looked at how many lives this ban might save.
I will provide the relevant statistics so your readers aren’t misled by Mr. VanSant’s numbers. About 11,000 people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents of which about 8,000 are the drivers themselves and 3,000 are innocent people (I consider these homicides).
The equivalent homicide numbers for firearms are about 8,000 by handgun, and around 2,300 each for “other guns,” “knives” and “other methods.” Certainly there are many non-assault weapons in that “other gun” category. We don’t have clear data, but overall I would estimate that less than 2 percent of firearm homicides are committed by “madmen with assault rifles” -- for a grand total of about 200 deaths. So it is clear my assertion is correct, 3,000 homicides or 11,000 total deaths by drunk drivers, 200 by assault rifle.
Of all the political issues, I find Democrats to be most dogmatic about gun control. I would like to see a bipartisan discussion that concentrates on the most effective and legal thing we could do, instead of the retread emotional and ineffective solutions being proposed now.Rob Reece Chapel HillMissing the point
A letter Jan. 20 comparing deaths by drunk drivers vs. guns misses the point. In fact a lot of people are missing the point. Our society has become immune to violence, and it starts with our children at a fairly young age. A person with a desire to kill a large number of people can find a way to do it, whether it’s with guns, homemade bombs, or cars (in Wilmington recently a man drove his car into a restaurant trying to kill a woman that he had argued with over politics).
Guns are not the culprit, nor are gun manufacturers. I grew up in Alamance County in the 1960s when guns and hunting were accepted parts of life. I have handled guns all my life, and teach firearms safety classes now. There is nothing odd about owning guns or the shooting sports. What is odd is how society admires the Hollywood/TV version of how people die by firearms and we celebrate the breakdown of mores and family tradition but react with such horror when a mass shooting occurs. We cannot have it both ways.
Background checks to keep firearms away from convicted felons and the mentally ill are fine, and that’s as far as these new gun laws should go. Anything more is unnecessary. Michael Thompson Burgaw, N.C.
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.