Judy Hodgson's opinion piece calling for more firearm bans was short on facts and long on hyperbole ("Tipping Point?" Dec. 10). A tragedy happened in San Bernardino but banning rifles won't make us any safer as a nation. Putting aside the hysterical rants of much of our media and too many of our politicians, let's look at facts.
Firearm related homicides, (according to the latest FBI data) have been steadily decreasing since the 1980s, despite the United States population increasing during that time. For the most recent year that we have complete data (2013), 285 people were murdered by rifles, whether semi-automatic, bolt action, civil war relics, black powder, homemade or whatever. Yeah, 285 people out of a US population of 318,000,000. By my calculation, every year, one has less than a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of being a victim of homicide with a long gun.
So come on, Judy Hodgson, why the fear mongering and calls for more bans and of criminalization of firearm owners? I am sure that this fear, this disunity and rancor, is what the terrorists who struck in San Bernardino were hoping to do to America.
Most of us are going to die someday from something, most likely from heart disease, cancer, medical mistakes, automobile accidents or suicide. The majority of deaths attributable to firearms in the United States, are by the way, suicides. Statistically, one's chances of dying due to a homicide by someone using an "assault" weapon, whatever that vague label means, is almost nil.
More people are killed by hammers/blunt objects (428 in 2013) than so called "assault" weapons. More people are killed falling down stairs than are killed by "assault" rifles. Last year, automobiles killed about 30,000 of us. Unfortunately, bad things happen. No one is ever perfectly safe. Live your life, taste the freedom we still enjoy in America. Banning firearms will take away one of the fundamental rights we have as citizens in this country and certainly won't make you or I any safer.
—William Hart, Arcata
Judy Hodgson's editorial is so full of left-wing Kool-Aid I don't know where to start. Let me pull your "stake" out of the heart. Hodgson says these military style firearms have no place outside the military or law enforcement and rejects the "modern sporting arms" name. Because they are ugly to her and her ilk. Yet I can show you a $3,000 firearm with a beautiful wooden stock, fancy engraved receiver with gold inlays, that is functionally identical to the ugly rifle.
As to the modern sporting arm, it is exactly that. After years of research, the stock is intended to be more ergonomically comfortable and easy to use. It is lighter in weight and therefore easier to carry, is available in a large assortment of calibers designed for hunting, and the sights can easily be changed depending on need. These sporting arms are especially useful for those of us advanced in years who need an ergonomic stock to accommodate our little problems like arthritic hands.
And by the way, who does she think she is to tell me what hobbies I can or cannot enjoy? Target and sport shooting have been proud traditions for over a hundred years in this country, as in many other countries. It is an international sport with athletes (shooters) who participate in many events, including Olympic competitions. If you really want to help reduce gun violence, why doesn't she call for the enforcement of the over 2,000 gun laws that are on the books now? I can't remember the last time I read about someone actually being prosecuted for all the things she bemoans.
—Terry Patterson, Fortuna