Dear Mr. President,
It is with great sadness that I write you regarding your recent executive order regarding gun control. I believe in changing some of the rules regarding the sale of guns as you do and also find the extremist views of all sides to be based more on feelings than facts or data.
When you addressed the world about extremist jihadists, you called for a non-emotional, long term approach to ending the senseless violence. And yet, you do just the opposite with the domestic situation of gun control — using emotion to push forward an action that will be challenged in the courts and easily undone by a succeeding president.
Your administration has been pushing to base all policy changes on evidence. And I like that. Upon what evidence are you basing this unilateral decision?
You stress the mass shootings. Over a recent seven-year period, there was an average of about 22 events per year with four or more people being killed by guns; 130 people dead per year. Over the seven years, this resulted in about 900 dead.
Please note that the death of anyone is tragic and if it were my son or daughter, I would be grieving beyond measure.
When you compare the number of deaths per year to alcohol-related fatalities, which are 11,000-plus per year, drunk drivers kill 90 times more people per year than crazed gunmen. If you get so emotional that you would make a unilateral decision regarding guns, might I ask that you find yourself 90 times more upset and issue a similar executive order about drunk drivers.
I live in Georgia, where getting a handgun is one of the easiest things to do. New York is one of the most difficult states in which to acquire a handgun. The reason there are so many guns from Georgia in New York is that someone can take a gun from Georgia to New York and sell it for about twice the purchase price — $500 to $1,000 profit — 100 handguns in a trunk makes $50,000 to $100,000 profit on one trip.
It is the extreme inequity in the laws between Georgia and New York that makes gun-running so profitable.
Georgia should become a little more conservative and New York be more moderate in gun laws, thus taking away the reason for gun-running. But this would require you using the office of the president to negotiate with Congress for less extremist positions and use of common sense for a greater good, than to issue executive orders like a king.
We are a democracy, sir. If you do not like the laws of our country, which you swore to uphold, work with Congress to affect change.
Douglas Flor, Ph.D.