From: Dan Humphreys
I’m quite honestly flabbergasted by Ramon Hass’ letter of Oct. 7.
I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he has never tried to purchase a firearm. In case you’re curious, Reverend, yes, there are many laws in the United States regulating gun purchase and use. There are a handful of local stores in town that sell them; it might be an educational endeavor on your part to go down and inquire as to the paperwork and hoops you’d have to jump through to get one.
I also find your citation of Great Britain, Australia and the Netherlands interesting. The UK, for example, has a per-capita violent crime rate 233 percent higher than that of the United States. Despite stringent controls on firearms, British citizens are over two times as likely to be the victim of a violent crime than those of us in the U.S. The problem is so bad that they are now considering the institution of knife control, and in some locales have installed collection points for a knife amnesty. In Australia, the homicide rate actually increased slightly after their widespread gun ban and buyback, and robberies have increased by a whopping 44 percent. The Netherlands, despite being less than 1/20th of the population of our country and smaller than several of our states, has had its own share of difficulties — one example being the Alphen aan den Rijn shopping mall shootings. Again, despite onerous restrictions on gun control.
Of additional interest is your lack of mention of another Scandinavian country, Norway, which has strict and severe gun control like the Netherlands. This didn’t exempt it from Anders Breivik’s attack that killed 77 and injured over 300. One wonders if this act of horror could be duplicated in America, where concealed carry is common.
The research is out there; I would suggest looking up John Lott, who’s found that “(s)ince at least 1950, all but two public mass shootings in America have taken place where general citizens are banned from carrying guns. In Europe, there have been no exceptions. Every mass public shooting has occurred in a gun-free zone. And Europe is no stranger to mass shootings. It has been host to three of the six worst K-12 school shootings and by far the worst mass public shooting perpetrated by a single individual.”
India, which has very nearly exterminated the very concept of the civilian gun culture, was under siege for four full days in 2008 in the city of Mumbai. There is the culmination of your gun-free utopia, Reverend — a citizenry that can do little more than huddle and hide while evil walks the land. I would expect that a theologian such as yourself would know that evil is in the hearts of those who kill, and not in the objects that they select.