To the Editor:
There were a few things that caught my eye this past week. The first was Barbara Richardson’s letter [“Assault Weapons: The Eyes Of The Beholders,” Letter Hive, 1-24-14] concerning the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the gun industry’s marketing of semi-automatic versions of military type assault weapons. Her contention is that by the industry’s re-branding them as Modern Sporting Rifles these weapons can be portrayed as more socially acceptable, and concerns about access to them are exaggerated. But as she points out, access to guns by individuals prone to violence is a very serious problem, and the gun industry’s marketing techniques tip the scales in favor of sales over violence prevention.
The second was that both Smith & Wesson and Ruger announced the decision to stop sales of certain handguns in California rather than comply with new legislation that proponents claim would assist law enforcement in the tracking down of weapons used in a crime. This means to me those companies are less willing to take a step toward a reduction in gun violence and more willing to opt for sales in what they consider more favorable environments.
The third thing(s) involved reports of a shooting in a Maryland mall that left three dead; a shooting at South Carolina State University where one student was shot dead; a shooting and killing of a student inside Purdue University's electrical engineering building; and a shooting of a student who was critically injured near a gym at Widener University near Philadelphia. These types of incidents have become so commonplace as to go almost unnoticed, except perhaps by people like John Leventhal, MD, and any number of parents who were affected by the incidents he announced as a lead study author. In the WebMD research feature that came out this week he reported that 20 children are hospitalized each day for gun related injuries in the US – and that’s according to 2009 data.
I wonder how we will fare in 2014 and hope we do better at finding ways to reduce this violence.
4 Alder Lane, Sandy Hook January 28, 2014