Letter to the Editor: Feb. 3

ARMED AND RESPONSIBLE

(In reference to the Feb. 1 editorial, “Gun flaws.”)

With respect to the editors of The State Press, and with the disclosure that I don’t harbor any sentimentality for gun culture, I have to disagree with a number of the conclusions The State Press reached with regard to the tragedy in Tucson, and gun laws in general.

The editors imply that more stringent background checks would have prevented Jared Loughner from acquiring firearms, and may have prevented the tragic events in Tucson.

This isn’t the case – Loughner had a number of minor encounters with law enforcement, but nothing in his documented history would have precluded his buying a gun in most jurisdictions.

Even if you’re of the mind – as I am – that private gun sellers ought to be subject to the same regulations that others are, Loughner and other offenders without prior criminal histories would not be prevented by such measures.

The editors also cite several instances of gun violence on college campuses. The common denominator of all of those instances is that they occurred on premises where those with criminal intent would have good reason to believe that few, if any, law-abiding citizens would be armed and able to stop them.

The State Press correctly states that firearms ought to be treated with responsibility, but as these terrible instances attest, undue restrictions on the otherwise lawful carrying of firearms is anything but responsible.

Evil and insanity will always be with us, and criminals will always have access to guns.  The choice left to us is whether we will allow responsible citizens to arm themselves against malefactors.  I don’t carry a gun, but I’m happy to live in a state where my companion at the bar may.

Christopher Lanter

Graduate Student