Western Courier

Letter to the Editor

The Editorial Board

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Dear Mark Tolliver,

Regarding the opinion piece, “We need better gun control,” I noticed some issues with your argument. Let’s get a few misconceptions cleared.

First, there have not been seventeen intentional school shootings in the US since the beginning of 2018. An article by the Washington Post corrected the number of school shootings that resulted in injury to only five after CNN falsely used Everytown’s data. Most school shootings in 2018 were either during non-operational hours or accidental firing on or near school property. Concerning student safety, a study conducted by Northeastern University found there was four times the number of students killed in school shootings during the early 1990s than in the past decade. They also claim that students die more frequently due to pool drownings and bicycle accidents. I will agree that even one is too many, but to use discredited, faulty data to bolster your agenda is not prudent.

Second, just as “thoughts and prayers” are getting old for gun-control advocates, lines such as “common-sense gun control” or “ban assault rifles” have not only lost their flavor, but they are non-sequiturs. A study published by FiveThirtyEight found that legislation restricting gun access, eliciting a mandatory gun buy-back, and restricting access to specific firearm attachments have had little to no effect on gun deaths. Similarly, using the term “assault rifle” is too vague. This refers only to a weapon’s ability to have two or more features such as a pistol grip and foldable stock, not its size, appearance, or caliber.

Third, it’s not easier to get an “assault weapon” today than it was a hundred years ago. Legislation such as the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Brady Act, the National Instant Criminal Background Check Improvement Act, and many other bills have prevented the access of firearms to many of individuals – criminal or otherwise. Additionally, your assertion that “many gun dealerships and stores” sell guns to individuals with criminal backgrounds is blatantly false. It’s within a dealer’s best interest to sell weapons legally to all their customers through the ATF – not to mention the law.

Finally, I implore everyone to contact their legislators and other public officials with their concerns. However, it would behoove oneself to have a plan in place. The entire last paragraph has no legitimate proposal that either hasn’t already been implemented or makes any sense. I encourage you to read into the established laws, speak to a gun owner or police officer, or even buy your own firearm so that you can experience the process firsthand.

Ian Schielein

Biology Student

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Letter to the Editor