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Letter: Guns Add Gasoline to the Fire

To the Editor:

Guns do not make you safer. Inevitably, they end up being used against someone whom the gun was intended to protect, very often the gun’s owner.

Guns make things more dangerous in contentious situations, not less — that’s just a fact. Life is full of arguments, disputes, anger, cheating, depression and resentment. Adding a gun to any of those situations adds gasoline to a fire, with far more unpredictable and deadly results than if the gun was not present. We’ve learned that very hard lesson even here in Grantham this past year.

More powerful weapons with larger magazines turn the gasoline into dynamite, with predictably worse results.

There’s a certain amount of bravado in the arguments of gun enthusiasts whenever tragedies like the one in Connecticut happen. If only someone armed had been there, maybe someone like themselves, they could have stopped this tragedy.

If only everyone had a gun, we’d all be so much safer, the argument goes.

Except, this isn’t true. In nearly every instance of a mass-shooting, even when someone there was armed, it did them no good. Why not?

The answer is simple. Ask any cop — having civilians at a crime scene with weapons makes it more dangerous, not less. Once the shooting starts, these are scenes of chaos and danger, and you’re as likely to be shot as a perpetrator or shoot an innocent bystander yourself as to be the hero and save the day. How do you sort out the “good guys” from the “bad guys” in a situation like that? The times when a gun has made a difference, usually an off-duty cop, not some self-appointed Dirty Harry, was carrying it.

Why do you think the professional police organizations oppose the radical “stand your ground” laws that overturn the “duty to retreat” doctrine? It’s because they know they’ll make public places more dangerous, not less.

Reining in these powerful and deadly weapons is a reasonable first step — we can’t allow the status quo to continue. Nobody in the United States needs a semi-automatic weapon capable of shooting dozens of rounds to defend themselves.

Randy Britton

Grantham