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Armed and Dangerous

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As the father of Andrew Young, the young man whose murder by handgun was examined by Tori Marlin in "Dealing Death" [June 6], I have to take exception to the comments sent in by Todd Field of Wheeling [Letters, June 27].

The standard propaganda of the National Rifle Association, repeated almost verbatim by Field, is that everyone needs a gun. If you're a peaceful, law-abiding citizen, then you need a gun to protect yourself from the criminals that the gun manufacturers and dealers have done such a fine job of arming (without any assumed liability). With this kind of logic the fire department might as well hire a contract arsonist and then charge people to put out the fires that the arsonist started.

In arguing his advocacy for "Carry Concealed Weapons" legislation, Field cited a study done by a Professor John Lott Jr. of the University of Chicago. Lott's study concluded that states that have passed CCW laws have seen violent crime go down.

But there are a lot of doubts hovering about the Lott study. He never submitted it to his academic peers for review, as is customary. He just handed it over to the NRA for their own promotional purposes. It embarrassed faculty at the U of C not only for its barbaric conclusion, but also for its sloppy research and questionable objectivity. Lott is a member of the Olin Foundation, which is funded by the Olin family, which owns--surprise!!-- the company that manufactures Winchester rifles. The Lott study is truly most useful in the smallest room of your house. In numerous credible and objective (not funded by arms manufacturers) studies conducted in this country and others, every single conclusion comes out the same: when the number of firearms is increased in a society, the number of firearm fatalities (homicides, suicides, and accidents) increases on a predictable curve.

Guns kill. Period. The next time some fool blurts out, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people," ask them if it's people or nuclear warheads that can vaporize an entire city.

In the last two Springfield legislative sessions, CCW proposals were narrowly defeated thanks to tireless efforts by Illinois' antihandgun violence lobby. Field suggests that a CCW law in Illinois might possibly have saved my son's life. The only thing that could have saved Andrew's life on that terrible day would have been a bulletproof vest, which we're all going to need if CCW ever becomes law in Illinois.

Stephen Young

Help for Survivors

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