In your editorial of Aug. 21 you make the tired, old NRA argument that says, “If gun control laws won’t keep guns out of the hands of hardened criminals, then we shouldn’t do anything.” You’re partially right. People like the recent shooter in Philadelphia will do what they have to and pay what they have to get what they want. Expanded background checks’ limits on magazine size and restrictions on internet purchases would not have stopped him but it might have slowed him down. It might have made it just a little harder to get that second hundred round magazine. It might have stopped the kid down the street from getting the Glock he used in a drive by or the wife beater or the potential suicide from getting the gun they need “right now,” and if it just saved those three lives, it is worth doing. If you need to get a gun to protect yourself today, you need to call the police.
I totally disagree with Sen. Baker when she calls gun control measures “… symbolic steps that do not save lives.” We won’t know if they save lives until we try them. If you can drive to the next county, state or gun show to avoid the law, it won’t work. There were mass shootings before the assault weapons ban was lifted, but not nearly as many, nor as bad. You’re right when you say that many mass shootings are the result of mental illness, but you may not be able to diagnose the shooter until after he pulls the trigger. Making the weapon of choice easily available and expanded magazines and ammunition available online doesn’t seem all that sane either, in my view.
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