February 26, 2013

Don't need high-capacity guns, just a shotgun

Letter to the Editor

A thoughtful letter-writer from Skowhegan suggests that people who are concerned about gun violence are misguided and ignorant by wanting to disarm law-abiding citizens.

Come on, now. Who is talking about disarming the populace? There are enough checks and balances in our government to see that doesn't happen. There is a large public concern, rightfully and undeniably so, however, that we are awash in rapid-fire and high-capacity weapons that often end up in the hands of deranged individuals with a deadly score to settle.

Who could honestly argue that this all-too-often problem doesn't need to be addressed?

The letter writer also argues for the personal protection that a handgun offers and preferably with more than a six-bullet capacity.

Well, frankly, the police with their training and higher capacity guns don't do all that well statistically. An 11-year study of New York City police shootings gives an overall 34 percent accuracy rating, and that's without someone shooting back. Otherwise it drops to about 18 percent. The Los Angeles police did even worse, averaging a 29 percent hit ratio.

In a recent shootout in New York City, police fired 16 rounds, hitting their intended target seven times while wounding nine pedestrians.

A study by the University of California School of Medicine indicated more than 300 people in the U.S. were hit by stray bullets between March 2008 and February 2009.

Given these kinds of numbers, I don't think we need more civilians walking around with high-capacity handguns. If the writer is talking about home protection against "multiple aggressors," he might consider a good old 12-gauge pump or double-barreled shotgun. They can be quite persuasive, and he might not even have to fire a shot.

George Hite


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