Letter: They’re Victims, Not Political Props
To the Editor:
I was saddened at the lack of sensitivity of Alan Tanenbaum’s July 10 letter, “The Real Aim of Gun Control.” He alleges that Gabby Giffords and her husband have been using the parents of shooting victims as political props for their advocacy of sensible gun-safety legislation. Giffords and the friends and relatives of the slain Newtown, Conn., children are not political props. They are real people who have suffered an incredible loss. It was totally disrespectful to treat them like little children, patting them on the head and sending them off to their room until they apologize for not regurgitating the National Rifle Association’s party line. They deserve the respect to be heard, to be part of the conversation to make our society safer.
Tanenbaum made the usual, totally unsubstantiated assertion that “the carnage might have been prevented if someone at the school had a weapon and knew how to use it.” One could as easily assert that that would have made the situation worse. He claimed that no proposed gun legislation would have been beneficial because Adam Lanza’s mother purchased the guns (she might be alive today if she had stored them safely). But if assault-type weapons with high-capacity magazines were outlawed, the carnage may have been less. He then accuses anyone who supports gun-safety legislation of having a hidden agenda — the elimination of the sacred Second Amendment.
No proposed legislation would deny a law-abiding citizen the right to own a firearm. Neither is this an issue solely related to Newtown, Since Newtown, more than 52,000 people have been shot, including 9,000 children. Of those 52,000 shooting victims, more than 1,000 children and 6,000 adults have been killed. The United States experiences the equivalent of Newtown-like tragedy on a daily basis, with more than 30 people being murdered.
Our legislators have a responsibility to pass sensible gun-safety legislation. These should include: strengthening criminal background checks and making them apply to all gun sales; strengthening federal laws against interstate gun trafficking and “straw purchases”; limiting the availability of certain types of military-style, high-capacity ammunition magazines that are designed for mass killing; requiring the safe storage of firearms in the home.