Letter at Length

Gun restrictions don't make us safer

It is my observation, opinion and belief that further laws restricting citizens' rights to keep and bear arms are ineffective and unconstitutional (under both the U.S. Constitution and the Oregon State Constitution), while destroying basic, universal, human rights.

Continued and regular studies by governmental agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and FBI as well as various non-governmental organizations (not including the National Rifle Association, which I do not support or agree with politically), find there is no correlation between reduced gun violence and increased gun control laws. If there are any correlations between highly restrictive gun laws and gun violence, it is that where guns are heavily restricted or outlawed, there is more likelihood for gun violence, both in the U.S. and internationally, both historically and contemporarily.

Homicides with firearms have steadily and significantly declined in the U.S. since the end of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban in 2004, at the same time as firearm ownership has steadily and significantly increased.

While statistics quantify the fact that increased gun control creates a less safe society, it is no consolation to people who have lost loved ones to violent tragedies. While I cannot imagine the unbearable grief and despair this has wrought, these events must be ultimately weighed unemotionally, and with great impartial clarity.

There is a violence issue in Western culture. Its origin and responsibility lie in the same organism: humans and their myriad social ills, not inanimate objects. People accept far worse risks every day they get out of bed; and while the arguments that cars, heart disease, cancer, alcohol, et cetera, are far more dangerous and result in far more deaths than firearms are true, they come across to some as obtuse or simple-minded. What this demonstrates to me is another cultural issue, one of necessity and tradition.

Whole segments of Western society live their lives without the need for firearms (which is their choice and right) and therefore don't learn relevant traditions that engender the safe and responsible use for what many consider an effective tool and means to an end such as putting food on the table or self-defense, which are basic human rights.

As Americans we are constitutionally guaranteed to have the choice to participate or not participate in these activities that define what it is to live. We also are constitutionally guaranteed that we are not forced to live a life defined by others, and that is what we have here in Ashland: a few individuals trying to force others into a life not of their own choosing.

The adoption of restrictive gun laws to maintain the image of being a progressive town and create the illusion of security, despite all evidence to the contrary, is the height of deluded and fantastical thinking by a few who want others to conform to their version of reality. This is not acceptable.

In closing, I would like to remind you of another fact: Millions upon millions of people have died, and their families have sacrificed (including mine), generation after generation, to preserve basic and unalienable rights of being human and being American. A few reactionary, myopic and selfish individuals have no right to change that, and never will.

David Qotsaisaw


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