The Enquirer editorial “Gun rights or gun control?” (Jan. 17) was unfortunately predictable and, equally unfortunate, elicited the usual, predictable comments. Those in favor of additional limitations to our Second Amendment rights were dismissive, condescending and generally unproductive for the debate one Enquirer editor said she wanted to have.

The thrust of The Enquirer’s position is that gun-free zones make us safe. There is no evidence, anecdotal or statistical, that supports this supposition. The 2013 Westgate Mall shooting in Nairobi, Kenya, that left 68 dead occurred in country that prohibits both open and concealed carry by civilians. The Aurora, Colorado, movie shooter passed seven movie theaters to the one theater with posted “No Gun” signs. The Umpaqua Community College was a gun-free zone on Oct. 1, when 10 people were killed, as was the Columbia Mall in Maryland on Jan. 25, 2014. Fortunately, the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland, Oregon, was not a gun-free zone and on Dec. 10, 2012, a concealed carry holder stopped an active shooter by drawing and aiming his weapon. Between January 2009 and July 2014, 92 percent of public mass shootings occurred in a gun-free zone.

The Enquirer calls for a “realistic discussion about reasonable ways to reduce gun violence.” I agree, the key word being “realistic.” There is widespread agreement about the need for more access to mental health and substance abuse care. Has The Enquirer called for repeal or revision to the federal Medicaid law, which limits treatment (time as well as beds) for mental health and addiction?

What about reducing the barriers to obtaining a federal firearms license, which were artificially increased by the Brady Bill, resulting in smaller dealers turning in their federal licenses? More dealers would then access the NCIS system for background checks. As an aside, only FFL holders may transfer a firearm to an out-of-state purchaser — only FFL holders may legally engage in internet sales.


According to Gallup, in 1993 only 34 percent of Americans thought the right to protect gun ownership was more important than gun control; in 2013 48 percent of Americans thought protection of our Second Amendment rights was more important than gun control. More than 5 million Americans think enough of our constitutional rights, the natural right to self-defense, gun training and gun safety that they’ve joined the NRA. More than 54 percent of all Americans have a favorable view of the NRA.

There is a path to a reasonable, commonsense and realistic discussion of gun ownership and a reduction in gun violence. But it doesn’t start with a condescending, fact-free lecture.

Source: Maggi Cook,