by Richard L. Sandheger
Your recent editorial implies that if the NRA would only be "reasonable," the problem of gun violence would be greatly alleviated.
The NRA has nothing to do with the problem because not the NRA, nor Smith and Wesson, nor the noncriminal majority of gun owners, bear responsibility for juveniles who behave like savages.
The greatest optimist in Christendom would not expect a group of felons, who are living in a crack house and in possession of stolen guns, to utilize trigger locks. Placing the emphasis on hardware and the NRA simply muddies the water and deflects attention from the problem of criminal behavior.
Much of what I have read recently regarding trigger locks and "smart guns" may be confusing to those with a limited knowledge of firearms. The terms are frequently used interchangeably, which indicates the writer does not understand what he or she is writing about.
A trigger lock is a simple mechanical device that blocks the trigger guard and prevents the finger from contacting the trigger. Trigger locks are activated by an ordinary key or by a push button code and it takes several seconds to remove the device under normal conditions. Their chief value is in safe gun storage, which should be unloaded in any event.
"Smart gun" technology is very new and has not been perfected, much less field tested. The technology is designed around an electronic device inside the handgun, which is capable of recognizing the authorized user, usually through a special ring or bracelet worn by the user.
A good quality handgun has a service life of at least 20 years. Police handguns live a hard life of extreme heat and cold, dust and a considerable amount of knocking about. No one knows today how reliable a "smart gun" would be under those conditions.
In your editorial, you said that if only one child picks up such a gun and it fails to fire, it "would be worth it." There is another scenario: A police officer is trying to preserve his life or the life of an innocent third party and his gun refuses to fire. Would it still be worth it?
If I was still an active police officer, I would violate every rule in the book, if necessary, to avoid carrying such a weapon.
You have used numbers from Handgun Control Inc., which is infamous for cooking the books, to support your editorial position. Their high numbers for "child" deaths are the result of defining anyone under the age of 24 as a "child." This conveniently includes most of the drug gangsters, drive-by shootings and other criminal activity. More persons under the age of 17 die in swimming pools than by gunfire.
Unlike people who have only a very limited knowledge in this area, NRA members understand firearms and understand the issues. In 1950, I did not know anyone who did not own some kind of firearm. We did not have school shootings, or drive-by shootings; any kind of misuse of firearms was extremely rare. The NRA and its members are not responsible for the societal problems that have surfaced in the past 30 years. We will continue to be "unreasonable" when you attempt to impose politically correct but pointless regulations upon us.