Letter: Measures to Reduce Gun Deaths

To the Editor:

In Great Britain, which has strict gun control, total annual gun deaths are less than 100. The U.S. has 10,000. Even adjusted for population, that’s at least a 50-1 difference.

U.S. deaths attributed to illicit drugs are around 12,000; motor vehicle accidents, 35,000; alcohol-related deaths (90 percent of all violent crime is committed under the influence), 80,000; and tobacco, 40,000.

We’ve spent billions and billions in the last 40 years in the “war on drugs.” It has had no benefit, as far as I can tell. Highway deaths are down, thanks to improvements in education and safety. That was money well spent. Alcohol presents a mixed bag. Prohibition was a failure, but education and regulation have been some help. Regarding tobacco, the money that has been spent on education, regulation and restrictions has been well spent, but no one is suggesting prying the Marlboros out of my cold dead hands.

I am not a gun owner. I hardly have held one, much less shot one, in probably close to 50 years. I hunted as a boy. Gun owners range from the reasonable (sports, collecting) to the moderately and severely paranoid and all the way to psychopathic mass murderers.

What can we do? Let them have their guns, but make background checks required for all gun purchases and severely increase penalties for the wrongful use of guns by other than by their rightful owners. In other words, securing rightfully owned guns should be greatly encouraged. Require and encourage hunter- and gun-safety courses.

Last but certainly not least, let’s look to a world where inclusiveness is encouraged, loneliness is lessened, and hopefulness and helpfulness are held in the highest regard. We all love one another.

Matt Cardillo