Keep assault weapons out of dangerous hands

A recent letter writer asserted that “concealed carry” gun laws lead to lower crime rates. However, correlation does not establish cause and effect. If more lenient gun laws, or more guns in private hands, led to lower crime rates, the United States would be the safest nation on the planet. Of course, the opposite is true: we have the most lenient gun laws, the highest rate of gun ownership and the highest rate of violent crime of any developed nation.

Even if a correlation exists between lenient gun laws and lower crime rates, it doesn’t show that the former caused the latter. Perhaps the latter caused the former: states with lower crime rates see less need for strict gun control than states with higher crime rates. The writer cites the high murder rate in Chicago as proof that handgun bans don’t work. Maybe he is unaware that large sections of Chicago have been economically devastated for decades and have been plagued by lawlessness and violence for nearly as long. New York City, with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, is one of the safest large cities in America. Clearly, factors other than gun laws are at work.

Of course criminals don’t obey gun control laws, but the same is true for any law. Why do we have laws against murder and burglary, since murderers and burglars don’t obey them? The causes of the high and very variable rates of violent crime in our country are complex, and no one is suggesting that gun control laws by themselves are the answer. But it is painfully clear that much more must be done to keep assault weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals. Otherwise, we continue to leave ourselves and our children at the random mercy of heavily armed lunatics.

Kenneth R. Boudreau