LETTER: Protest depends on 'whose ox is being gored'

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

To the Editor: 

Gun control seems to be the hot topic these days.

There are gun related deaths in the U.S. every day, but the subject of gun control comes up only after mass shootings such as the ones at Ft. Hood, VPI, the Aurora Theater and Sandy Hook School. People are calling for a ban on assault-type weapons and better mental health programs for the lunatics who, in violation of current gun laws, commit mass shootings. They call for legislation to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. We already have that legislation, but it is virtually impossible to enforce. If someone wants a gun, they can get one — legally or illegally.

Consider this — far more deaths in the U.S. are caused by motor vehicles than by guns. Many of these motor vehicle deaths are the result of people who, in violation of current laws, drive at excessive speeds, drive without a valid driver's license or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. No one is marching in protest of high-performance cars or vehicles capable of speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour. No one is calling for legislation to keep people from speeding, or driving without a valid driver's license or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We already have that legislation, but enforcement is usually a slap on the wrist.

Some will argue that motor vehicles are necessities and firearms are luxuries. That may be true. Therefore, more people own motor vehicles than guns. The problem is that a much higher percentage of gun owners use them more responsibly than owners of motor vehicles.

I guess that, when it comes to protests, it all depends on whose ox is being gored.

J. Fred Watson

Sanford