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What is the Answer?

From: robert n lyman <rlyman@u.washington.edu>
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 10:26:41 -0800 (PST)
To: <gildewell@sptimes.com>
Cc: <letters@keepandbeararms.com>
Subject: "Workplace bad enough without a gun around"

Regarding your article in the St. Petersburg Times, Columns: Workplace bad enough without a gun around http://www.sptimes.com/News/102801/Columns/Workplace_bad_enough_.shtml.

Mr. Gildewell,

Your Oct. 28 column seems calculated to provoke an angry response from the gun-rights community. I will attempt to be more polite than my own anger ought to allow.

Let us leave the Constitution aside for a moment and look at your factual premises. You imply that guns in city buildings will inevitably result in fatal shootings over trivialities and political differences of opinion. Do you have any evidence to back up this assertion? Are fist fights or knife fights common among city employees? If guns have been permitted up until now, have there been many shootings?

It seems to me that you make the (utterly false) assumption that people who are not ordinarily violent will become so if they are allowed to carry a firearm. Does Florida's experience with concealed-carry reform support this view? (In case you don't know, the answer is an unequivocal NO). Does the nationwide practice of arming police officers turn all of them into murderers? Obviously not. If people are not currently engaged in using physical violence to settle disputes over stoplight timing, it is exceedingly unlikely that the mere presence of a gun on one or more belts will cause such violence to erupt. I suspect that your fear of guns in city offices comes from a secret prejudice against gun owners. I can see no other reason to fear the decent people who work in city offices. Can you refute that charge?

Finally, you say, "I'm sure that Zephyrhills City Hall gets its share of walk-in crazies, including some who aren't on the City Council, but armed city employees aren't the answer." What is the answer, then? Should the employees facing an armed criminal simply lay down and die? Should they wait for police response -which might take several minutes, more than enough time for the "walk-in crazy" to kill 20 people? Oh, and by the way, do you favor disarming cops who come to the city's offices, or just employees? Why should self-defense be a privilege reserved just for those who wear badges?

The Constitution has nothing to do with it. Banning lawful concealed carry in city offices will only make them an even more tempting target for violent criminals angry at the city. Allowing it poses no risk so long as the armed employees meet the same requirements that other concealed-carry licensees meet. There is no reason to attack law-abiding gun owners in this shameful and counterproductive way.

Robert Lyman


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