Unlike swimming pools, electrical outlets, purpose of guns is to maim

Mr. Keisling,

Upon reading your article about gun ownership (Oct. 14, 1994), I couldn't help but wonder as to the ultimate source of your logic concerning our "right" to possess a handgun. First, you state that "Owning a gun is . being responsible for one's own well-being." A more precise phrasing would be that owning a gun is having the power to be "responsible" for the lives of others, since guns typically are used against beings other than the one possessing the gun. I don't know about you, but in that sense, I'd much rather be "responsible" for my own well-being (that is one of your arguments, isn't it?)

You state that we need handguns to protect ourselves from "the government." So, what you're really saying is that, if by some unlikely chance, the U.S. government decided to flex our military muscle and show its disapproval of the running of our university by the rightly-appointed administration by invading our campus in an attempt to set up an Arkansonian puppet regime, you would be standing in front of Old Main, pistol in hand? What good do you think a handgun will do against an M1 Abrams tank or a F-15? If our government wants something and decides to use the military to get it, no "militia" of gun-wielding citizens is going to stop it.

You then go on to state that although guns cause tragic deaths, other objects like swimming pools, electrical outlets and cars also cause tragic deaths. First, although I don't have statistics handy, I'm sure that the number of tragic deaths caused by guns in this country far outnumbers the deaths caused by swimming pools and electrical outlets by a very significant amount. Second, although I can't talk about your experiences, I know that I've never been threatened by someone wielding a swimming pool. Guns are objects of aggression and violence whose only function is to maim or kill; cars, electrical outlets and even dangerous items like swimming pools are objects which were not created with the purpose of killing another living being.

You state ". laws should exist only to stop the committing of crimes, where a crime is an act society has agreed is wrong. Acts are often considered wrong because they violate some 'right' of another person." So you're against laws like speed limits or stop signs, since these actions don't violate the "rights" of others. Nonetheless, these laws are generally agreed upon as good since they serve to protect our best interests.

As you stated yourself, it is society who decides on what constitutes a crime. Perhaps one day, our society will realize that gun ownership is not in our own best interests.

A final suggestion, Mr. Keisling: Read the 2nd Amendment. You're sure no militia.

John Martini


Graduate Student

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