The Current | April 12, 1999
Prop B would have been beneficial
Joe Harris' April 5th column on Prop B was very interesting and deserves a response. I voted for Prop B even though I'm not a gun owner or a member of the NRA.
Prop B didn't pass but the issue isn't going away. On paper, supporters outspent opponents 5-1. But the opponents got free media support and coverage through the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Riverfront Times and most of the other media sources in this area. The Post's Kim Bell and KSDK's Dan Gray were the exception. Also as reported by a Mizzou reporter the opponents also may have violated the law by using taxpayer-funded materials. The supporters used logic, reason and evidence. The opponents used rhetoric, scare-mongering, distortions and outright lying.
Joe mentioned statistics regarding right-to-carry. How many of the 2,000 people that were arrested in Texas were because of gun violations? University of Chicago professor John Lott wrote a report and a controversial book in which he did extensive research and documentation which refutes Joe's stats. Of course Lott was biased because he was supposedly bought and paid for by the gun lobby.
Joe next says Prop B would have posed a threat to the public and the police. The real threat to police is habitual lawbreakers that liberal judges treat with kid gloves. Forty-three policeman are alive today because armed citizens came to their aid. Also guns are used in self-defense numerous times a year and many people are alive today because they owned a firearm. While there are accidents involving guns, there are also accidents involving roller blades, skateboards, bikes, swimming pools, household products, model glue, paint, etc. (which don't get as much attention).
He next makes the stupid statement that the supporters of Prop B-and the NRA want to go back to the Wild West. Joe, do you know any of the 103,000 members of the NRA in this state? Most of my friends are members. Like me, they believe that responsible, competent and law-abiding citizens should own firearms. Also, like me, they oppose the liberal elitist view of punishing decent gun owners for the acts of criminals. Instead, we support mandatory sentences for gun use in crimes.
What the bashers of the NRA conveniently forget to mention is that the NRA supports the Eddie Eagle program and other programs. Their purpose is to teach young people and those of all ages the proper use of firearms to prevent bad things from occuring. The NRA also has Crimestrike. That's right Joe, the old boogeyman NRA cares about the public safety and doesn't view firearms as "toys." Joe, a gun is a piece of equipment and doesn't work until someone uses it.
He finally mentions road rage. During acts of road rage guns aren't the only things that can be used as a weapon. Other weapons are the car you drive, flashlights, window scrapers, tire irons and other things people keep in their car. In fact, a man in Texas is probably alive today because after a car accident, he was having his face smashed in and used a gun to save his life and he wasn't charged with anything.
Since Prop B failed I think the taxpayers should stop paying for the bodyguards of the elected officials who came out against Prop B. After all, they don't think the people who pay for their bodyguards are competent enough to defend themselves. I'm particularly referring to our fine Governor Mel Carnahan who has 10 full-time bodyguards who cost about $700,000 a year.
Joe next time do yourself and all of us a favor and get your facts and information straight.
-Kevin J. Hinostroza
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