AZPASS (Arizona People Acting for a Safer Society) would like to respond to Bill Richardson (“Limiting magazine capacity: Let’s try it!,” AFN, April 28) who seems to want to only confuse the discussion, and to prevent the rest of us from reaching a reasonable consensus on sensible gun regulation.
Richardson may not have said that he was advocating lawlessness, but he meant it. His current explanation is worse. Richardson now says: (1) laws make us less civilized; (2) that people “do what they can legally get away with;” (3) we do not need laws because most of us know what is right; and (4) laws with harsher punishments are more likely to be obeyed. These four positions contradict each other. Position 1 says laws cause bad conduct. Positions 2 and 4 assume that laws deter bad conduct. Position 3 says that laws do not affect behavior. Richardson either cannot or will not offer a consistent position on the proper place of gun regulation in this society. If he opposes all change at all costs — say that. Admit his willingness to tolerate the current level of gun violence inflicted on other people. AZPASS is not. We can no longer just PASS (pun intended) on this epidemic of gun violence. We are working hard to protect everyone, including Mr. Richardson, or God forbid, someone he loves. Speed laws and traffic regulations work. According to a 1985 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, increasing the speed limit on rural roads from 55 mph to 65 mph caused a substantial increase in fatalities. Cars can exceed speeds of 40 mph, but we prohibit Formula 1 race cars from travelling on city streets. The solution to gun violence is sensible gun regulation. There is compelling evidence that banning assault weapons and high capacity clips will save lives. When Australia enacted these laws after a shocking gun violence tragedy, gun deaths and violence plummeted. Newtown might have been prevented. Adam Lanza’s mother legally purchased the AR-15 which Adam used. Adam reportedly targeted first-graders in hopes of breaking the “kill” record. He selected the guns that kill the most, not because they were “scary guns.” As Ahwatukee resident Tom Teves (whose son was mowed down at the “Batman” premier in Aurora, Colo., last July) explained after reviewing the computer simulation of that attack, his son would have escaped if he had not been pinned down by barrage of fire coming from the AR-15 and 100-round clip. AZPASS is asking only for sensible laws. The inconvenience of having to go through a background check, or not having an assault weapon or high capacity clip, cannot be compared to the burden of burying a loved one. It is selfish and callous to pretend that none of these deaths from gun violence are unpreventable. Executions are not funny. I heard a crowd chant on a public execution in Riyadh. A former client was executed after a court found possible innocence. Issue of life and death are complicated, and deserve honest and serious consideration.
• Ahwatukee resident Ellen B. Davis is a lawyer and chair of Arizona People Acting for a Safer Society (AZPASS).