Gun control

Dear editor,

TIME magazine, January 14, 2013, Page 14. Our gun murder rate is 32 times as high as Canada and Australia. Why? Canada and Australia are not oppressive communist countries. They are modern, civilized, English-speaking democracies. What’s different about them? We probably have about the same percentage of mentally ill people, so that can’t be the reason. We have mostly the same violent video games and movies, so that can’t be the reason. We are probably not less religious or less moral than the Canadians or Australians, so that can’t be the reason. Maybe it’s because after massacres years ago both countries voted to put reasonable restrictions on who can own guns and what kinds of guns they can have.

They have comprehensive national background checks with no loopholes for gun shows and private sales. We have an uncoordinated patchwork of federal, state, and local laws that are only partially enforced. It’s easy to buy guns in easy-access states and smuggle them to tough gun law states, which makes tough gun laws look toothless.

They have owner licensing and gun registration so responsibility can be pinpointed. They allow hunting rifles and shotguns, but assault weapons are restricted. Most European nations plus Japan have similar laws and they also have very low gun murder rates. All these countries have put public safety above individual rights to purchase massacre weapons. Our gun culture and paranoia about losing our guns prevents us from enacting reasonable and necessary restrictions.

Too many of us associate guns with patriotism and manliness. The NRA logo has an American flag and an eagle. The NRA promotes the idea that our only defense to an oppressive government is our guns. Actually, the government doesn’t want our guns, it wants our money. Take our guns. Take our manhood. Joe Biden has a tough job ahead of him.

Bruce Williams