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December 3, 2008

Boston Globe Readers Misled About Guns


An anti-gun opinion piece from John Rosenthal, co-founder of such prohibitionist groups as Stop Handgun Violence and American Hunters and Shooters Association, isn’t surprising, but we wish the Boston Globe’s op-ed editors had caught at least some of the inaccuracies in “A Chance for Sensible Gun Laws” before it reached print. Here is NSSF’s response to this misleading column:

To The Editor:
 
“Sensible” dialog on any topic begins with a factually accurate statement of the situation. In this, John Rosenthal (“A Chance for Sensible Gun Laws, Nov. 27) falls short, to the point of misleading your readers on the emotional topic of gun control.
 
He states that there is an “unrestricted access to guns,” ignoring the over 20,000 federal, state and local gun control laws on the books. Indeed, firearms are the only consumer product which, nationwide, require either an FBI or state police clearance after an electronic criminal records background check before anyone can buy a firearm at retail.
 
And his statement that “Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont do not require background checks” is just plain wrong. Federal Law has required background checks for all retail sales in every state for 15 years.
 
He claims that “gun violence has risen steadily,” yet he cites a 22- percent decrease in gun-related homicides in Boston. During the last 15 years, homicides involving firearms have decreased by 32 percent, and assaults with firearms decreased by 33 percent—despite increases in firearms ownership.
 
America is not “the gun violence capital of the world,” as Rosenthal states, and law enforcement has full access to firearms trace data as a part of law enforcement investigations; again, not what he avers.
 
Honest citizens certainly can and do disagree about the need for, and the effectiveness of, even more gun laws than we already have. But we all have a responsibility to study this complex issue in light of facts, not fears.

Mr. Rosenthal has been misleading Greater Boston residents for a long time about firearms, mainly through the use of a billboard spouting anti-gun messages that sits prominently on the Massachusetts Turnpike just outside of Boston.