Article assumes too much about gun laws' benefits
Your front-page article on gun violence in the Aug. 12 edition read like an anti-gun editorial to me. Editorials belong on the editorial page. The few facts in this article appeared to be accurate but I would still call this fake news because you cherry-picked the facts used and the wording was very biased.
The worst example of fake news in the story is the statement that "the four states with the lowest rates of gun deaths have enacted at least one of five laws that gun-control advocates, researchers, police and some lawmakers say would help Arkansas tackle its level of gun violence." The strong implication of this statement is that those laws will reduce gun violence if passed in Arkansas. The sentence is true: Many anti-gun groups do push these laws, but there is no research supporting any reduction in violence. It is also true that many pro-gun groups say these laws solve no problems. The story implies these are the only differences between the states with low levels of violence and Arkansas; no reason for that assumption is given. There could well be a lot of other differences that would explain much more; one possibility might be law enforcement, either by police on the courts.
The required background check law is usually called necessary to close the gun show loophole by anti-gun forces. There actually is some research showing that gun show sales are not a gun violence problem. A Department of Justice special report revised Feb. 4, 2002, states that of state prison inmates who used a gun in the crime they were in prison for, only 0.8 percent got that gun at a gun show.
It is also mentioned that approximately half of the gun deaths in Arkansas are suicide. You talk about identifying people at risk so their guns can be temporarily confiscated. You don't even mention trying to identify and help people with mental health issues before they think about hurting themselves or others. All, or almost all, mass shooters have had identified mental health issues before the shooting but were not currently considered dangerous. Our state and national leaders also avoid that topic because it is a very tough problem to address. It is much easier to say let's make a few anti-gun laws and act like that will solve something.
There is also no mention of gang violence and how that might be reduced. How often is gang violence the real issue? Gangbangers almost always get their guns illegally, so no law is going to make a difference on that. You do have a separate story about federal prosecutors going after felons with guns and I thank you for that. The general lack of prosecutors enforcing existing laws is, I believe, a huge portion of our gun violence problem. No new laws should be passed until we find out if enforcement of existing laws is all that is needed.
This was a long article and could have contributed to starting an honest discussion if it had not been so one-sided. This newspaper can, and should, do better.
Bella VistaCommentary on 08/18/2018
Print Headline: NWA Letters to the Editor