Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2001 12:56:49 -0700
From: clydem@SEDONA.NET (Clyde McClelland)
Subject: Loopholes vs Accuracy:  Article in Arizona Capitol Times, 12/28/01

My comment to NOTE: Otis Smith is the father of Sharon Smith, who was killed by random gunfire. He is the president of "Helping Arizonans Limit Tragedy" and "Citizens of to Prevent Gun Violence." BEGIN COMMENT: Sir: I depend on the Capitol Times for accurate, factual reporting on legislative issues. Your publication of "The Gun Show Loophole" by Otis Smith violates that standard and damages your credibility. . Mr. Smith advocates legislative action on a controversial topic. His presentation of this issue is inaccurate. There is no "gun show loophole" -- the Congress included explicit provisions to permit citizens to sell personally-owned firearms without governmental interference. The Second and Fifth Amendments demand no less. Nowhere in his article does Mr. Smith acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of firearms sales at a typical gun show pass through the hands of federally-licensed dealers who MUST perform background checks on would be purchasers. Mr. Smith assumes that the alleged "terrorists" were detected and punished as a matter of luck. In fact, guns shows are closely monitored. The Department of Justice reports that only seven-tenths of one percent of the guns used in crime pass through the gun show channel (one crime gun for every 150 firearms sold). A less biased author would assume that a similar percentage would apply to guns purchased by "terrorists," especially when firearms do not seem to be the weapon of choice. Would Mr. Smith also demand a background check on every sale of a box cutter at the local hardware store? . Mr. Smith quotes, without attribution, information which appeared in a press release by an anti-gun organization. He fails to mention, for example, that a Florida jury did not agree that the individuals charged were associated with the Irish Republican Army. The National Rifle Association has reviewed these data and their reports place these incidents in their proper context. . May I suggest that you correct the imbalance created by Mr. Smith's article by publishing excerpts from the reports of the National Rifle Association about the sources used by Mr. Smith. (I would be glad to supply a selection if you request.) With respect to Senator McCain's gun show loophole bill (S.890), may I suggest that you invite a special contribution from Alan Korwin, the author of "Arizona Gun Laws." You may reach him at http:\\ He is the best qualified individual I know to comment on yet another gun control law that would destroy gun shows as we know them. Senator McCain's bill, for example, would register every participant at a gun show -- even if he or she did not buy or sell a single firearm. . Arguably, four pistols in the hands of four competent, courageous individuals could have terminated the WTC terrorist act without "innocent" casualties. Gun control legislation disarms only the innocent. Criminals and terrorists have many sources for their weapons that are cheaper and less risky than gun shows under the surveillance of the friendly folk who gave us Waco. Don't demand further "compromise" from law-abiding gun owners. We have been there, done that. This phony "loophole" issue is a case in point. We accepted the "instant check" which has proved neither "instant" nor always available on line. Now the anti-gun, anti self defense, gun prohibition movement wants to use it as one more step down the slippery slope toward confiscation of private property. . END COMMENT

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