Sunday, April 27, 2008

Would Not Take It Away as a Preventive of Crime

Would Not Take It Away as a Preventive of Crime.

To The Editor of The New York Times:

It is not pleasant to take up what seems to be the unpopular side of a matter under discussion, but your editorial article of the 17th and Mr. Goldberg's letter on carrying firearms seem to me to be based on wrong premises.

When a man has made up his mind to set so far at defiance the laws of his country and all considerations of right and wrong, how much consideration is he likely to give to a city ordinance prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons? And if he could not buy the firearms here, would it be much trouble for him to run up to some of the towns in Connecticut or Massachusetts, where they are made, and where no such restrictions can ever prevail? Or, worse yet, if he couldn't get firearms, think of the numerous and (to the average man) far more certain implements he could buy in any hardware store! A butcher's cleaver, a reaping hook, a knife, or a sharpened icepick would make a more deadly weapon in the hands of most assassins than a revolver, for the simple reason that accurate shooting with the latter weapon is next to impossible after a long period of practice or at very close range. If Mayor Gaynor had been hit in the neck with a sharp cleaver he would not be recovering.

Of all the short-sighted notions, this idea of blaming the instrument for the crime seems to me the worst. It is a good deal like a dog which is struck with a stick biting the stick instead of the person who attacks him. What is needed is more prompt and certain punishment for the murderers, and the closing of the avenue through the insane asylum to liberty, the road that is so easy to tread when the murderer has wealth.

The trouble with legislation ahainst carrying weapons is that the law-abiding citizen pays attention to it, while, as before pointed out, the criminal does not. I should think the hold-up man and murderer would be highly in favor of having his victim thus disarmed. The criminal would be careful never to have a "gun" about him except for the brief time when he was "on the job," so that the chances for causing him annoyance by a rigid enforcementof such a law would be slight. On the other hand, a citizen whom circumstances made a likely object of attack would have to go armed all the time, in order to be prepared when the time came.

But there are few persons who would find it necessary or agreeable to go about continually with a revolver in their pockets. The smallest revolver that is really an effective weapon makes a heavy and uncomfortable lump in one's pocket, and in any event it is probable that one whose business puts him in constant danger of attack would not have a great deal of trouble in getting a permit. But there are frequent occasions when you, or I, or our sisters or daughters, may be exposed for brief periods to situations where attack might mean the loss of money, life, or honor. Having no permit, nor time to get one, is it right for us or those dear to us to walk unarmed into such perhaps - unavoidable situations?

Finally, I am not a lawyer, but I cannot understand how such ordinances stand in court, in view of the Constitutional provision regarding the carrying of arms. The Constitution does not say that "the right of citizens to carry arms shall not be abolished," but even says this right "shall not be infringed." If these city ordinances do not infringe that right, then I don't know what would.

New York, Aug. 22, 1910. .38 COLT.



At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Wendy Weinbaum said...

As a Jewess in the US, I support the right of store-owners and good people everywhere to be armed. Criminals are stopped by FIREARMS, not by talk. And America wasn't won with a registered gun! That is why all REAL americans put our 2nd Amendment FIRST!


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