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A civilized society needs guns? Or is it laws? By Rick Lawson
IN THE INTEREST of full disclosure, I am a gun owner. I have both a handgun and a rifle. I grew up in a house with many guns, and my dad was an avid sportsman. When I was 12, I had my own single-shot rifle and shotgun. (My dad, who was an excellent marksman, asked me why I would ever need more.) I am also a former Marine and earned the Marine Corps "Expert Rifleman" badge. I strongly support the most advanced weapons for our military and law enforcement.
I let the article by Mary Walsh in the Feb. 10 Viewpoints section of The Free Lance-Star sit for a few days before preparing a response ["A civilized society needs guns"]. Her concerns about the social issues she addressed are legitimate and deserve consideration. Drunken driving and mental health are at the root of many senseless deaths. Personal protection for our homes, families, and property is not unreasonable. (I'm less certain about our current need to have the right to bear arms out of fear of a tyrannical government.) Her final point seemed to combine gun control efforts with current societal failure to abide by the Ten Commandments.
There is merit to her concern about a lack of fundamental moral principles and civility, but this is where her opposition to gun laws breaks down. For thousands of years the absence of civilized, moral conduct has resulted in the introduction of laws: What else are the Ten Commandments?
Walsh refers to drunken-driving deaths and statistics (that are deplorable) but fails to acknowledge the marvelous efforts of an organization she cites, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, to advocate for programs and laws that have gradually reduced the incidence of drunken-driving deaths in the face of growing population and automobile use. There has been progress.
Similarly, laws against texting and driving, mandatory safety features (seat belts), and a myriad of other traffic safety efforts have reduced traffic fatalities from what they would otherwise have been. There has been progress.
THERE HAS BEEN PROGRESS