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Letter: Gun control will not end violence

7:44 PM, Jan. 15, 2013  |  Comments

With the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on innocent victims, there is a call for new anti-gun legislation. Unfortunately, President Obama's administration is using these situations, not to address the underlying reasons for such wanton acts, but to advance a gun ban.

President Clinton's administration passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban in 1994. It was a ban on the so-called "assault weapons". The author of the ban was Senator Feinstein. The ban was not based on any empirical data demonstrating firearms connection with crime. Rather, her staff decided which firearms to ban from a gun catalog. What was the impact on crime after 10 years? According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "insufficient evidence". The National Research Council, Clinton's own Justice Department noted little if difference in violent crime levels. Don Kates, a graduate of Yale's Law School, retired professor of constitutional and criminal law, and research fellow with The Independent Institute, wrote a piece in Harper's "Against Civil Disarmament". "What we should have learned from our experience of Prohibition, and England's with gun banning, is that violence can be radically reduced only through long-term fundamental change in the institutions and mores that produce so many violent people in our society. It is much easier to use as scapegoats a commonly vilified group (drinkers or gun owners) and convince ourselves that legislation against them is an easy short-term answer. But violence will never be contained or reduced until we give up the gimmicky programs ? and frankly ask ourselves whether we are willing to make the painful, disturbing, far-reaching institutional and cultural changes that are necessary."

One attempt at change: Connecticut's effort to address the mental health issue. State Bill 452 would have forced troubled patients into treatment. The bill died in committee because of opposition decrying it as "outrageously discriminatory".

F. Randall Harris

Oshkosh

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