Opposing View on the 'Right' to Bear ArmsBy Dr. Paul Gallant
From The Journal News, Rockland County, NY, May 18, 1999. [Written in response to my op-ed on the Littleton shootings.]
"Opposing View on the 'Right' to Bear Arms"
I was shocked to read the recent Community View by Paul Gallant. Incredulous, really. How someone could seriously make the argument that more guns are better than less guns and that more guns could somehow lead to fewer "Littletons".
I've read the false science before, making the case that if everyone had concealed weapons, then people would think twice before committing violent acts using firearms. Nonsense.
A simple look around the world at those societies that have limited firearms shows far lower death rates caused by firearms. It is only simple logic. I say take away the guns, and the death rate from guns will be reduced overnight.
To those who believe the Second Amendment gives them a right to bear weapons, I suggest that they go out and purchase single-shot flintlock rifles, and their legal rights will then be protected. This, of course, is not the entire answer to what happened in Littleton, but it is a beginning in preventing such tragedies.
Alex Green, New City
"Truth on Gun Ownership and a Safer society a Bitter Pill to Swallow"
by Paul Gallant
In challenging the facts, not the opinion I cited in a recent Community View, letter-writer Alex Green described the possibility that more guns could translate to less crime as "nonsense". His basis for the charge is that he's "read the 'false science' before", as he characterized those facts.
But the "false science" comes only from the firearm-prohibitionists. Typical of their junk-science research was a study published in the October 7, 1993 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. In order to prove that the risks of keeping a firearm in the home outweighed the benefits, Dr. Arthur Kellermann counted 15 persons "killed under legally excusable circumstances" - i.e. violent criminals - among his collection of "victims".
Four of those 15 "victims" were criminals shot by the police in the line of duty. But that allowed Kellermann to claim that "rather than confer protection, guns kept in the home are associated with an increase in the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance", by a factor of almost 3:1.
Is Green willing to bet the lives of [his own] children on the kind of "science" that labels criminals as "victims"? I won't.
According to Cease Fire, "Every day, 15 American children are killed with guns". Similar claims are made by other groups advocating firearm-prohibition. But statements like these are true only if one includes 24-year old feuding drug dealers as "children".
Is Green willing to bet the lives of his own children on the kind of "science" which spawns statistics such as these? I won't. Has Green intensively studied the existing literature on firearms and violence from both sides of the firearm debate, with a critical and objective view, the way I have? Not likely.
Can Green's "science" provide answers to why we're seeing Littletons all of a sudden, when the prevalence of firearm ownership in America has remained unchanged since 1959? My science can.
To date, the most exhaustive research on mass public shootings like Littleton has been done by [Drs.] John Lott and William Landes. They found that deaths and injuries from mass public shootings fall dramatically after passage of right-to-carry (i.e. liberalized) handgun laws take effect. Their latest findings were just released in April: During the 1977-1995 period of their study, the average death rate from mass shootings plummeted by up to 91%, and injuries dropped by more than 80%, after right-to-carry laws were enacted. That's fact, not just someone's opinion on the subject.
Lott and Landes concluded that "...the recent rash of public school shootings...raise[s] questions about the unintentional consequences of ["gun-free" school] laws...The possibility exists that attempts to outlaw guns from schools, no matter how well meaning, may have produced perverse effects..."
Gun-owners like me are often accused of not loving our children enough, that we foolishly sacrifice their safety and well-being for the sake of our guns. Perhaps we love them more, because we're willing to accept the responsibility of owning and using firearms in a safe manner in order to protect them from the evil which will always exist in every society, regardless of whether it's "politically-correct" to do so or not.
The truth can be a bitter pill to swallow. But a safer society will only come about when people come to grips with the message instead of attacking the messengers.
The writer is a Wesley Hills optometrist and is chairman, Law-Abiding Gun Owners of Rockland.
Reprinted from the Rockland Journal-News (Rockland County, NY), May 18, 1999, and June 20, 1999.