Letter: Elizabeth K. Hedges, Lovettsville

Editor:  State Senator Dick Black was among the officials Lovettsville’s Veterans Day celebration. In his speech, he mentioned the rising number of police officers killed in the line of duty, and attributed that to a lack of support by local governments.

According to the website Officer Down Memorial Page, so far this year 58 officers have been killed by gunshot, either deliberate or accidental.  Since 2013, when there were 33 such deaths, the casualties have increased 76%, which is a considerable amount.

There are probably several reasons for this, but one reason is the ballooning amount of weapons in our country.  The United States now has a gun ownership rate (both public and private) of 112.6 per 100 people.  This is the highest in the world.  The rate has doubled since 1968.  Great Britain in contrast, has an ownership rate of 6.6 guns per 100 people, and has had no officers killed by gunshot since 2012.  Five officers in Great Britain have died from gunfire since 2000.  (These statistics are from Wikipedia).

Our country needs to address this issue and require background checks before purchasing guns, and licensing of all gun owners, to reduce the horrible toll gun violence takes on our police officers and innocent civilians.  We require all automobiles to be registered and insured, and all drivers to pass tests before they can drive a car. This has not resulted in a “slippery slope” depriving qualified citizens of the privilege of driving a car. Similarly, closing the gun show loophole, and licensing gun owners, will allow citizens to still own guns but will make our country much safer for all citizens and law enforcement personnel.

Elizabeth K. Hedges, Lovettsville

5 thoughts on “Letter: Elizabeth K. Hedges, Lovettsville

  • 2016-11-25 at 8:36 pm
    Permalink

    Elizabeth K. Hedges points to 58 officers killed by gunfire so far this year, and contrasts that with 33 in 2013. The implication is that increased gun ownership rates are causing an increase in officers killed by gunfire.

    However the data do not bear this out. Certainly gun ownership is increasing. Based on statistics provided by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the number of checks rose steadily from just over 11 million in 2007 to more than 22 million in 2016.

    During the same period of time the Officer Down Memorial Page which she cites shows the following figures for officer related gunfire deaths for the last 10 years, starting with 2007, and ending in 2016.

    71-43-50-61-73-50-33-50-41-61

    Two observations: First, no such upward trend in deaths is apparent, and second, there are 3 years in the last 10 that equal or exceed the current year. The upward trend for gun ownership over the last 10 years does not correlate with an upward trend in officer related gun deaths. Her speculation that ‘the ballooning amount of weapons in our country’ explains the difference between 2013 and 2016 is not borne out by the facts.

    She calls for background checks before purchasing guns. I assume she will be happy to know that such checks are already in place. That is what the NICS system is all about.

    As for gun shows, there is no loophole. Current law requires a background check when purchasing from a dealer, or across state lines. This is the case, gun show or no. However, private sales within a state are not subject to background checks, whether the sale takes place at a gun show between consenting adults, or in the privacy of a home. The ‘gun show loophole’ is a myth.

    That leaves the issue of licensing, which she likens to the licensing of automobile drivers. This is apples and oranges. Since when does the exercise of a fundamental right protected in the Bill of Rights require a license?

    Furthermore, gun ownership has increased at the same time violent crime is falling. In fact states which pass ‘shall issue’ laws for the issuance of concealed carry permits typically experience a subsequent drop in violent crime. Licensing, in addition to infringing a fundamental right, is a ‘solution’ in search of a problem.

  • 2016-11-22 at 2:35 pm
    Permalink

    Mr. Marvin9,
    You left this sentence off your cut and paste job from the notoriously anti-freedom, anti-gun, George Soros funded Harvard school of public health website.

    “This article was cited by President Obama in a speech to a police association. This article will hopefully bring police further into the camp of those pushing for sensible gun laws.”

    The irony is fascinating: You omit quotes from a hyper partisan group funded by George Soros in some attempt to appear to be concerned for law enforcement officers, all while Soros is also funding the very groups who push extreme hatred for our police. Astonishing.

    Real law enforcement officers have always known who their true friends are — and it’s nobody from the Soros Foundation, or Harvard Yard, or the current administration, and other assorted jack-boot wearing left wingers.

  • 2016-11-21 at 10:57 pm
    Permalink

    Ms. Hedges you’ve based this opinion on what? I’d like to know exactly where you obtained your trustworthy data. Please provide that information to all of us at your first opportunity. Attacking our 2nd Amendment RIGHTS with baseless information is not exactly appropriate.

    Now please allow me to educate you. On average ‘per household’, if you check with the data the is produced via the FBI annually, there are no more guns owned today than there were 10 years ago. Again this is per household. Yet the violence on Law Enforcement Officers has more than tripled in the last 5 years. In one day we lost 3 officers this past weekend!!

    The problem is, hands down, the lack of support via the current Administration. In fact the current Administration has fostered a sense of entitlement; and grossly encouraged violent tantrums and public displays. The President himself has basically threatened the American People from time to time himself… if he doesn’t get the House & Congress to vote ‘his way’ he’ll find other means. That didn’t work out so well for his Amnesty Program but he certainly tried. Obama has been cramming his very one sided agenda down our throats for 8 years. And publicly praised the very organization (Black Lives Matter- which truth be known is a domestic terror group) that has threatened the lives of our Law Enforcement Officers. My God, it was Obama’s very own Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) that even left our people for slaughter in Benghazi.

    Basically what this boils down to is this… loyalty for our own; respect for authority and human life simply isn’t this Administrations strong suit. The problem isn’t the guns, it’s the people who have been led to believe it’s ‘ok’ to act out like rabid animals.

    Guns are no more dangerous than knives. If someone is motivated to take control and burglarize your home, threaten you, intimidate you, and/or take your life, they’ll find a way to do it. Don’t be so nieve as to think guns are the only weapon of choice.

    Here’s another fun fact for you. Chicago has THE MOST restrictive gun laws in the Country and yet has the highest rate of gun violence anywhere in the Country. Go figure- who knew the criminals wouldn’t abide by the laws.?.?. So do you think it’s fair to take guns away from the Law Abiding Citizens (in essence trampling on their 2nd Amendent RIGHT) and rendering them defenseless? Personally I find it disturbing and bordering on almost criminal.

    • 2016-11-22 at 11:33 am
      Permalink

      . More guns = more homicides of police

      This article examines homicide rates of Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) from 1996 to 2010. Differences in rates of homicides of LEOs across states are best explained not by differences in crime, but by differences in household gun ownership. In high gun states, LEOs are 3 times more likely to be murdered than LEOs working in low-gun states.

      https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/

  • 2016-11-21 at 2:51 pm
    Permalink

    Ms. Hedges,
    Do you believe people need a licensing scheme to attend their worship services? Do you want to see a government license to read the news outlets or books of your choice? How about a license for political speech, or for any speech? Should I have to obtain a government issued permit to protect me from illegal search and seizure of my home, car, and property? How about a little card from the state telling the courts that I have a right not to incriminate myself?

    It’s called a Bill of Rights – not a bill of privileges.

    By definition, criminals do not obey laws. This past weekend saw three (politically motivated most likely) assassination attempts on law enforcement officers; one was horrifyingly successful. Do you believe, in the slightest, that any of these perpetrators willing to ambush law enforcement officers would have acquiesced to your “government gun licensing scheme?”

Leave a Reply