Guest editorial |

Guest editorial

Ed Robinson, Park CityI'm writing in response to the letter criticizing the Park City Gun Club for running an ad showing a customer shooting at a torso-shaped target, and suggesting that only non-humanoid targets are appropriate. That letter raises issue

Much of our political discourse today is based on beliefs that are contrary to known facts (see the War on Drugs that doesn’t stop drug use, while effectively causing lots of crime by drug users and prison time for distributors, or the contention that we can and should deport millions of illegal immigrants who have become productive members of our society). We all need to work hard to learn the facts (real facts, not beliefs being presented as facts), and then base our political action conclusions on those facts.

Gun control advocates and opponents of individual ownership and usage of guns are prime offenders. If you listened to them, and their mainstream media supporters, you’d think that gun violence in the U.S. has steadily been increasing, and that a prime cause of that increase is the increase in individual gun ownership and gun carry permits, and the popularity of modern sporting rifles, which the naysayers erroneously refer to as Assault Weapons.

Yet the FBI data is crystal clear: gun violence has been falling steadily in this country for decades, as gun ownership and carry permits have soared. Modern Sporting Rifles are used in a very low percentage of violent crimes (see the FBI data, and studies of the previous Assault Weapon ban). MSR’s have been used in some of the horrific mass killings, but so have handguns and knives–and there aren’t many of those incidents each year, as appalling as they are. So there is no good factual basis for the arguments against individual ownership and use of guns based on claims of illegal violence by otherwise law-abiding people.

Now let’s turn it around and ask why such good people might want to own and use guns for protection of themselves and their loved ones. Here, again, facts matter. Saying that it’s the police’s job to protect us from bad people committing violence misunderstands lots of things: the actual job and capabilities of the police, the legal responsibilities of the police, and the practical realities of the world.

Courts have made clear what common sense should tell us: the police are not obligated to be, nor could they practically be, our personal bodyguards. There aren’t enough of them (and we wouldn’t want to pay for or tolerate enough of them) to do that job. As a result, the average response time to a 911 call is certainly no quicker than five minutes most places, and probably averages 15 minutes or more in many places. While we are lucky to live in a place where violent confrontations are rare, they do happen here, and happen a lot in some places. If you want to survive that first 5-15+ minutes of assault by an armed bad guy, you had better be armed and prepared. It’s your right not to do so, but you shouldn’t then denigrate or deprive those who wish to take personal responsibility in this manner.

Hope this helps readers understand the facts and logic of the gun rights argument.