NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
In her Transcript letter on Jan. 21, Allison Lee Palmer argued that the “benefits of gun laws outweigh the gun hazards.” This is the same tired argument that people have made for decades.
Palmer’s conclusion is not supported by any objective statistics or facts. On the contrary, the evidence suggests that more guns in the right hands results in less crime (www.gunfacts.info).
Palmer compared guns to cigarettes. Yes, both cigarettes and firearms can be hazardous. The difference is that cigarettes offer no benefit to society. In contrast, guns have a variety of useful purposes. If there were no benefit to be derived from firearms, we would not equip our police and military with them.
The Founders of our country considered civilian gun possession to be so important that they guaranteed our right to keep arms as “necessary to the security of a free state.” Guns in the hands of civilians are also commonly used to prevent crime, and firearms are widely employed for recreational and sporting purposes. So much for the comparison with cigarettes.
According to the FBI, over the last 20 years, the violent crime rate in the U.S. declined by 49 percent, even as gun ownership soared. Do you remember the dire predictions that were made in Oklahoma and other states of what would happen if people were allowed to carry concealed weapons? We were warned of Wild West scenarios with gunfights on every street corner. That didn’t happen. We now have millions of people carrying weapons in nearly every state in the Union, and crime rates have dropped precipitously.
Palmer argued that gun rights should be restricted because the number of people killed by guns “far outweighs the number of lives saved by guns.” There are a number of flaws in this reasoning. First of all, Palmer lumped normal people together with criminals and the mentally ill. More than 60 percent of gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides. Of the remaining 40 percent, many gunshot victims are criminals in gangs shot by other criminals.