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Letter: Leave Irrationality Out of Gun Debate

To the Editor:

In the wake of President Obama’s initiatives to reduce deaths from gun violence, the leaders of the National Rifle Association have stated their belief that the government is out to take away all guns and to do away with the right to bear arms. This level of paranoia and irrationality is not only reckless, it’s unproductive at a time when we all are working to find sensible ways to reduce gun violence.

In reality, a 2008 Supreme Court decision (District of Columbia vs. Heller) clearly affirmed the right to bear arms. And the president and other elected officials have not called for a ban on all guns — only military-style rapid-fire assault weapons and large-capacity clips. Tragically, these guns were the weapon of choice in recent mass murders. The possibility of their falling into the hands of a disturbed individual is simply too great a risk. Indeed, hunters have been among the first to state that these weapons are unnecessary for sport. Experts in personal safety and self-defense point out that these weapons are too unwieldy and unreliable to be used effectively for self-protection.

That leaves the argument that, since the government has them, we, the public, must own them to defend ourselves from potential tyrants. But that doesn’t make sense, either. It implies that individual citizens should also possess grenades, tanks, missiles and nuclear weapons. Let’s not fall prey to radical, unfounded views. Irrational fear is what led to witch hunts, McCarthyism and the Iraq War, and we all know how those turned out.

David J. Bucci

Norwich