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letters | DEBATE GOES ON OVER GUN CONTROL

We dismiss value of handguns as means of defense

Some people understand only horrific images and are blind to the subtle, far more significant side of gun ownership — the unspectacular, daily prevention of crime that takes place because law-abiding citizens are allowed not only to own but to carry handguns for self-defense.

Thousands of stories depicting thwarted crimes go unreported, or do not warrant the wall-to-wall coverage that the shooting in Newtown, Conn., did. And how do we measure the deterrence that effective self-defense creates in the minds of would-be assailants who do not act because they fear their potential victim may be armed or because they’ve learned of an attacker being shot?

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Rather than deterring handgun ownership through burdensome insurance policy requirements, we should change bad policies such as those prohibiting even licensed gun owners from securely carrying concealed handguns in our public schools. Armed security officers, while an asset, can be easily identified and targeted first. It is the unmarked armed individual who presents the best line of defense against a shooter.

We should encourage people to carry for self-defense. Push to make Massachusetts a “shall issue” state (where police chiefs MUST issue a permit to anyone who is not explicitly disqualified), instead of its current status as a “MAY ISSUE” state (where police chiefs MAY or MAY NOT issue a permit depending upon their own discretion).

Doug Van Gorder

Quincy

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