The letter from my high school friend Jim Grice exhibited great passion in his opinion on gun control. Unfortunately, like most anti-gun opinions, it had passion, but no facts. In placing blame for the Las Vegas mass shooting, he pilloried Republican politicians, the NRA, etc., instead of placing the blame where it truly belongs — on the shooter, Stephen Paddock.

Grice seems to forget that the Constitution grants the right of individuals to own firearms, and that the Supreme Court recently upheld this right. The Obama “rule” forbidding people with mental problems from owning firearms was problematic from the start. First, presidents do not make “rules.” We have a process for making laws which requires the president and Congress to work together to do so. Secondly, the definition of “mental problems” was not adequately defined. We do not want unelected bureaucrats to have the power to decide who has mental problems. We would do well to remember that many years ago, the U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy was accidentally put on a “no fly” list and had months of problems in getting his name removed. 

Grice is concerned that “silencers,” which were not used in the Las Vegas shooting, should not be made legal (but they are already legal) because first responders would not be able to identify the source of the gunfire. The term silencer is a misnomer. They are more properly called “suppressors,” as they simply reduce the sound of gunshots, not silence them, like in the movies. 

And yes, he is right that laws allowing persons to carry firearms would not have helped the victims under the special circumstances of the Vegas shooting, but statics show that Americans use firearms many times a year in self-defense, and that most of these incidents do not involve an actual shootout. 

A book by John Lott, "More Guns, Less Crime," and a recent article in The Washington Post, “I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise,” by Leah Libresco, are recommended to anyone wishing to know the facts.

But since Jim seems to dislike guns and feels they shouldn’t be used, I’ll make him this promise: If we ever happen to be together and someone attacks him, I will refrain from using my gun to defend him.

Ron Usner