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Bad analogies in gun-control arguments

Date published: 2/18/2013

Bad analogies in gun-control arguments

In her column, "A civilized society needs guns" [Feb. 10], Mary Walsh went on at length about drunk-driving deaths and noted, "Not a single bill was introduced to ban cars or alcoholic beverages." This is illogical for many reasons.

First, no bills have been introduced to ban all guns, either. Banning assault weapons and requiring background checks would in no way stop people from owning guns for self-protection. Second, automobiles are absolutely necessary for most Americans to live their daily lives, and are not specifically designed to maim or kill, as are guns. Third, what do automobile deaths (or death by insulin, bathtub, strangulation, etc.) have to do with preventing the kind of horror that occurred in Newtown and many other places? Are we to throw up our hands and say, "Well, people get murdered all the time, so we can't do much about it?"

Walsh quoted a Daily Mail report that England and Australia have a higher violent crime rate than the U.S., arguing that citizens were more vulnerable there due to gun control laws. It is important to note that "violent crime" refers here to car thefts, robbery, and the like. When it comes to violent deaths, however, we are No. 1. According to an article in the New York Daily News, the "U.S. has about six violent deaths per 100,000 residents. None of the 16 other countries in the review came anywhere close to that ratio." We'll never eliminate murder or accidents or tragedies in general. We can take reasonable steps to save innocent people from violent deaths. Shame on us if we don't.

Barbara Douglas