Letter to the editor: Response to gun control debate

Posted on Oct 16 2017 - 7:59am by J. P. Lawrence

On Oct. 13, staff columnist Matthew Dean argued that we should remove emotion from the gun debate and keep the debate honest and logical. Setting aside from the fact that much of the pro-gun movement is based on emotion (i.e., “I need to defend myself from a dangerous world” or “I need to be able to overthrow a tyrannical government”), I agree that we should be honest and logical. Both the pro-gun and gun control camps want to save lives. Let’s look at the facts about what saves lives.

To begin with, logically, organizations best equipped to examine the issue of gun violence should be allowed to. Unfortunately, the CDC is forbidden from investigating gun crime and the underlying causes of it. Maybe it is mental health. Maybe not. Let the CDC investigate. If we could investigate underlying causes, we could develop laws that target those and minimize impacts to the unaffected population.

Furthermore, we need to look at gun control free of emotion. We have, literally, an entire globe of data. Let’s use it. We can look at what happened to other countries when they enacted gun control. Australia had a massacre in 1996, then its conservative legislature enacted strict gun control, and it has not had a massacre since (no, violence did not go up after that). Alright, they are not Americans, so let’s look at the States. States that banned high-capacity magazines are statistically less likely to have mass shootings. The numbers go on and on.

Let’s have a logical and honest debate. Not one based on emotion. One based on reality and facts. Let’s keep thinly veiled snark about the government and agendas out of it. The U.S. has the highest gun violence rate of any developed nation. Clearly, the status quo is not working.

J.P. Lawrence is a doctoral candidate in biology from Oxford.