Letter to the editor: The ‘gun grab’ in Vermont has begun

This is written in response to Angelo Lynn’s March 19 editorial, “Gun Control: Facts vs. Fiction,” plus his subsequent response to a reader’s inquiry on March 26 as to the source of the “2015 Study.” Much time has passed since then and awaiting Gov. Scott’s signature on S.55 is perhaps unnecessary after all; fait accompli. Having read his dissent, it was rather telling that Sen. Dick Sears Jr., the original sponsor of the bill, ended up voting Nay just prior to it landing on the governor’s desk. Time will tell if S.55 is in direct violation of Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution.
Studies which demonstrate a direct correlation between strict gun control laws and a reduction in gun deaths are ubiquitous; they are a dime a dozen. That is, these studies conflate suicides with homicides. Nationwide, suicides comprise upwards of 60 percent of the gun deaths reported (New York Times). Hence, someone who wishes to commit suicide, will take the path of least resistance and kill themselves with an overdose rather than unnecessarily getting embroiled in a newly imposed legal fight to obtain a handgun. In the end, the individual successfully kills him or herself but it is no longer listed as a gun death.
Let’s talk vehicular suicide rather than gun suicide. If an individual speeds head long into a large tree, that is a suicide. If an individual drives his truck into eight people on a bike path in lower Manhattan, that is homicide. The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School get the difference. They were not marching to protest suicides.
The JAMA Internal Medicine, Elinore J. Kaufman et al., 2015 study’s Abstract/Objective was “to determine whether counties located closer to states with lenient firearm policies have higher firearm death rates.” This is not an objective statement, but rather predetermines the outcome. And this study made it very clear up front, that firearm deaths considered were from both suicide and homicide data. It is easy to see today why many people, not just students, see such studies as opinions rather that facts. Data sets should not be co-mingled and should be treated as sacrosanct. If not, Garbage In, Garbage Out. Also, this study was conducted with data from the 48 contiguous states, yet the aforementioned editorial reports that it is the state of Alaska which had the highest number of gun deaths, at 19.8 per 100,000 people. Alaska is the state with the second highest suicide rate in the US. There were 27.1 suicides per 100,000 people (Juneau Empire News) in 2015 which accounts for all 19.8 gun deaths above. Living in darkness for one-third of the entire year could explain this depression.
There was no mention of either Chicago nor Vermont in the aforementioned editorial. Today, Chicago has the most Draconian Gun Laws of any city in the United States, next to Washington, D.C., and yet in Chicago in 2016 alone, 762 murders occurred, with 4,331 shooting victims (CNN News, not a conservative news network). Compare that to 47 homicides in all of Vermont over a six-year period from 2011–2016 (NPR, once again not a conservative news outlet). This suggests that the chances are nil that someone is going to pull a gun on you when you just might be carrying a concealed weapon yourself. Vermont was rated the safest state in the U.S. for 2013–2015 and the second-safest state for 2016. But you can be sure that next year gun-grabbers will declare that thanks to S.55 being passed in 2018, Vermont is now the second-safest state in the union. If we just took more gun rights away from gun owners, we could be number one.
Let us be clear. The gun-grab in Vermont has begun. Today, retired Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court John Paul Stevens, a Republican In Name Only, wants to see the U.S. Second Amendment repealed. And those on the left say that gun-rights supporters are over-reacting regarding the slippery-slope argument. Are we really?
Daniel J. Monger
New Haven

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