The following is in response to the Sept. 19 letter titled “It’s Not The Gun That Kills.”
Yes, the NRA has many responsible law abiding members, but their leaders are grossly negligent and irresponsible. The gun homicide rate in the U.S. is 25 times higher than that of other developed countries, but research shows that commonsense public safety laws can reduce gun violence and save lives. And a significant part of the problem is that the NRA is blocking more research. They claim gun control won’t work because they originated your talking point that “people kill, not guns.” False. They do not know that gun control won’t work. Let’s look at some facts.
Fact: In 1996, the gun lobby, with help from the NRA, helped pass the Dickey Amendment. This states that none of the money for injury prevention and control at the CDC may be used to advocate or promote gun control.
Fact: The NRA is constantly sending out multiple tweets and ads on NRA TV saying gun control won’t help, completely misleading its members. They don’t know that because they won’t let the CDC conduct research to learn what measures will actually prevent death by firearms. (FYI, this is how they figured out that seat belts prevent deaths in car accidents.)
Fact: While the Dickey Amendment restricts funding and research from the CDC and NIH for common sense gun laws, there are still studies being done. However, there obviously are not enough to address the full extent of this public health crisis. The studies we do have do confirm that, yes, we have a gun problem.
Sure, there are other issues in our country, but you cannot argue with the fact that the deadliest part of the problem is the gun! And yet, the NRA still does not take any responsibility for their role in preventing the discovery of viable solutions to the more than 90 people who die each day from firearms. If the NRA and the gun lobby are so sure that commonsense gun laws will not change the number of people dying, then repeal the Dickey Amendment. If the NRA is confident, what do they have to lose?
A mass shooting in Australia back in 1996 led to a ban on semi-automatic weapons. Subsequently, the number of both homicides and suicides where a gun was used as a weapon dropped by over 50 percent in that country. There is no reason for any private citizen to have access to these type of weapons.
Finally, to address your statement that if we ban certain types of guns, why not ban cars since they are dangerous as well? There are many more regulations for buying a car. If people have to go through the same hoops (insurance, written test, driving test to get valid license, etc.) to get a gun as they do to get car, that would be a step in the right direction.
The fact the Inn at New Hyde Park will allow such an irresponsible organization to hold an event at their venue, who will auction off the same type of assault rifle used in the majority of mass shootings, is truly appalling.
—Dr. Leigh Trani