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To engage in an ad hominem attack on an elected official for “fear-mongering,” while raising the specter of violent criminals to assert that more citizens should be permitted to carry loaded, concealed guns, is hypocritical and ignores reality.

It was the discredited  economist John Lott who proposed, based on shoddy research, that more guns in the hands of civilians reduced violent crime. This assertion fails to recognize and honor the efforts of law enforcement over the last 30 years, during which time all forms of violent crime, including those involving guns, have significantly declined.

Most research points to more effective policing as a major contributor to this decline. In many cities, the police have become more actively involved with the community encouraging greater cooperation in preventing crime. Almost all law enforcement agencies now have units dedicated to infiltrating gangs to prevent violence.

Another trend effecting crime is the fact that fewer households have guns. While the number of guns in America has increased over this time, fewer households have them, both in urban and rural settings. That means more guns in fewer hands. At the same time, many jurisdictions have become more effective in enforcing existing gun laws.

However, there are many who are quite lax and there still exist many loopholes in these laws. All efforts to reduce crime are incremental and with experience can become more effective. Let’s not lose sight of the safety of all citizens in a community. The gun lobby isn’t helping in this regard.

Bob Harris

Albany (Jan. 7)

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