A Response from Dale Vree

January-February 1991By Dale Vree

Dale Vree is Editor of the NOR.

In a 1975 statement supporting gun con­trol, the U.S. Catholic Conference said: “Most homicides are not the result of criminal design but rather they are the outcome of quarrels and arguments among spouses, friends, and acquaintances…. A recent study in the Cleve­land area indicates guns purchased for protec­tion resulted in the deaths of six times as many family members, friends, and neighbors as intruders or assailants.” In Seattle today, for every one household intruder shot, there are 37 suicides from guns (plus X number of homicides and accidental deaths). Nationwide, 10 children are killed each day from playing with loaded guns kept in households. In the 1980s four times as many Americans were killed by handguns as were killed in the Vietnam War.

But Sheldon Vanauken seems to be echo­ing the NRA and saying that that’s “the price we pay for freedom.” If so, we’re being swin­dled. The odds that America will come under the sway of some dictator are extremely re­mote, especially in these times when the dicta­tor is becoming an endangered species. It makes more sense to worry about an auto accident: When Van trades in his Morgan convertible for a safer car, I’ll start worrying about coups and invasions.

While we wait for the “coming Caesar,” innocent people are dying because of easy access to guns. The real question is: What is the price we’re willing to pay to protect inno­cent human life? If “whittling away” at the constitutional right to bear arms is what it takes, that would seem to be a price worth paying — just as whittling away at the consti­tutional right to privacy would be a price worth paying to save the lives of unborn babies.


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