MCSM Response To Washington Post Article
"A Case For More Gun Control"

Article Written By Michael J. McManus

Response By Bob Culver

Article Date: April 29th, 2007


Please consider the following letter in response to the Opinion piece cited below, as a letter to the editor or an Opinion piece.

In the Sunday Times, April 29, 2007, Michael J. McManus wrote of "A case for more gun control". He begins by posing the question, would more gun control, on the type of guns and to whom they are sold, make us safer, and then saying the answer is a "resounding yes". Lets look at the information he presents.

First, lets look at the background for his position, which he establishes from his youth. He says the issue is not about "bad" guys vs. "good" guys, so we are lead to believe his understanding of the issue is about objects, or guns, and not about people. He is implying that objects alone promote crime, the only other topic he discusses as causative factors for the rest of his article.

He tells us about living in a home with a drunkard and abusive father who he had to confront at age 14 to defend his mother. His action to defend her was to take the pistol his father had used to threaten her and hide it from him. I guess the confrontation was somewhat secretive, that he found and hid the pistol without actually taking it from his father. By his statement he did not move further to remove his father from a position in the family from which he could continue his abusive actions. Instead he focuses on the object, the gun, swearing to never have a weapon in my home when I grew up and says, "I have kept that pledge."

Unfortunately he also never grew up to gain the ability to understand the issue of personal responsibility for human actions that cause injury. What of the other "Weapons" available in the home that were not hidden? Having to deal with marriage conflicts, as his by-line suggests, implys that he understands conflict between husband and wife and the utility of even bare hands as "weapons" in that conflict.

But I digress, on to some of the several other facts he offers.

The next paragraph starts with some average numbers of firearm deaths over some broad dates, from 1990 to 1994 and 1995 to 2004. He discusses the 1994 "U.S. ban on the sale of assault weapons...". The next statement is, "Then the law expired in 2004." After some gratuitous comments about those weapons and ammunition "clips", nothing more is stated. By the way, it's Magazine, not clip - but you have heard this before too. The inference however is left hanging. He is attempting to imply without saying it, that because of the expiration of the 1994 ban, crime has gone up or will go up. No facts, no figures, no cause and effect or reasoning, only the inference and not even a statement of firearm deaths after 2004. Guilt by inference I guess.

If you are interested in the statistics on death, you can get a good start on the Web at . A serchable database at the Centers for Disease Control site will tell you much.

Finally there is one good piece of information, though it will take some adult ability to understand the lesson in the statement, "We will always have crazies and felons who get their hands on guns." At first I assumed that he understood what he had just said, but unfortunately he dives back into talking about background checks and laws to deny access to weapons.

The proper analysis of, "We will always have crazies..." is to remind people that Personal Protection is a Personal Responsibility. You, the victim, will always be the first person on the scene of your attack. No matter how effective the background check, no matter how high the wall or how much barbed "wire" is used to attempt to form a barrier to keep the "crazies" away from the rest of the population, some will always get inside that wire. When that happens, and the population lacks the means, the ability and the will for self defense, it is a slaughter. Witness Virginia Tech.

Now look at the Lubys Cafeteria incident in October 1991 where Suzanna Gratia Hupp was in a position to defend her family, but was disabled by Texas law. Twenty three were killed, and she could have stopped it, but she obeyed the law. Now look at the Appalachian Law School incident in January 16, 2002, where armed self defense was successful and a shooting spree was stopped. If you want something more recent look to the Trolley Square incident. Just weeks before VA Tech, on February 13, 2007, a shotgun wielding trench coat clad 18 year old, strode into the mall in Salt Lake City and killed 5. An off duty Law Enforcement Officer from Ogden, Utah, outside of the Salt Lake City jurisdiction, was carrying a concealed firearm, in contravention to Mall policy. He used it to defend his family and disrupt a mass killers attack. Understand this, the Trolly Square savior was most likely violating the letter of a few laws and clearly the Trolly Square facility policies.

The lesson here is that armed resistance at the point of attack, defending from the "crazy" who gets inside the wire, is more effective than any law disabling the crazy, or police saturation of an area. The crazies are not so crazy as to not carefully pick the un-armed targets, the easy targets with many people to slaughter, the gun free school zones which for the crazies are just a target rich safe working environment.

Statistics continue in the article. It says, "There are 51,500 people living today who would have been murdered without the Brady law and the 10-year ban on assault weapons". Just where did this tid- bit come from? No explanation is offered, it is just left to the reader to assume that the Brady law and the ban somehow miraculously delivered 51,500 people from death. I'm sure some statistic was extrapolated to arrive at this number, but we will never know.

After many more statistics of crime vs. the 1994 Assault Weapon ban, but still un-related to any events after 2004, a comment is made by Mr. McManus about the ultimate "loop hole" - the dreaded Gun Show. The statement, "No background checks are required if a gun is purchased at a gun show." is Totally False. The gratuitous rhetorical questions that follow, "Why not" and "Are they any less lethal", attempt to bolster the argument to give it the appearance of truth.

Let me explain this one more time. I'm sure you have heard this before, but; ANY ATF licensed dealer at a show must have a purchaser complete ATF Form 4473 and then conduct a NICS background check. There is no such thing as an "unlicensed dealer". There ARE private individuals who, depending on the show and local regulations, may visit the show and even establish a show table from which to legally sell private firearms from their personal collection to other private purchasers in that same state and Following All Laws. These private citizens are NOT in the business of trading in firearms, they are NOT ATF Licensed Dealers and they are NOT permitted to conduct NICS checks because of this. It's the law, only licensed dealers are required and permitted to access the NICS system.

In closing, I will not argue with any individual who chooses his own path to "..never have a weapon in my home...", or even one who choses to not respond to an attack on himself or his family with deadly force. I admire his personal conviction and wish him good luck; He will need it. However, anyone who tells others that they too may not use any type of self defense is making an immoral demand. Chose for yourself how to act, but do not condemn others to your chosen fate.

Thank you for your time.
Bob Culver, MCSM

Bob Culver is Chairman of the grass roots discussion and action group Montgomery Citizens for a Safer Maryland. More information can be found, and the author can be contacted at the web page

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