Guns and facts

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Mark Twain popularized the saying "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." I wonder which some letter writers conjure when they write the Post-Gazette in gross defiance of facts and history.

First, we had Carl Schultz ("Blood Cries Out," April 16), who announced his investigation of seeking "clarification from individual gun owners regarding the NRA's stated desire to retain the right to own automatic weaponry." His clarification is pretty flawed when you consider that automatic weapons were not used in the Newtown tragedy nor in any recent tragedy that remains part of the ongoing discussion.

In fact, automatic weapons have been tightly regulated since the National Firearms Act in 1934. Legal ownership of automatic weaponry requires an extensive federal background check, fingerprinting, signed clearance from the chief of local law enforcement (such as a county sheriff), a $200 excise tax and weeks of paperwork at a minimum. That was true before the assault-weapon ban was enacted in 1994 and remains true with the expiration in 2004.

Then we laughably had David Kegarise ("Do Something," April 16) argue that had the assault rifle ban not expired, Nancy Lanza "would not have had the AR-15 rifle in the home." I wonder how he would argue that the Columbine massacre happened in 1999? How effective was this ban when it was in effect?

In the words of Martin Luther King: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."




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