To the editor:
In Sen. Gayle Manning’s report to the people of Oberlin last week, the status of HB48, “Guns Everywhere,” was raised.
In response, there was the argument about the need for people to carry guns in particular circumstances, and hence any legislation limiting their availability would endanger the lives of citizens. This argument reminded me of the debate about the installation of seat belts in automobiles during the 1960s. The particular circumstances like driving off the road into a river and being trapped by one’s seatbelt, or not being “thrown clear” to safety in an accident were put forward in opposition to the installation of seat belts. But the installation seat belts and other safety features now save about 10,000 lives a year compared to the very few that might be lost by being trapped by a seat belt.
Guns, like automobiles, are very dangerous instruments and need to be carefully regulated. The dangerousness of guns is emphasized by the fact that the number of deaths from guns is now approaching those in automobile accidents. No law is perfect, but when the lives of citizens are at stake the government must choose regulations that provide safety to larger number – particularly when the safety is provided to a much larger number. I am sure that most of constituents in Sen. Manning’s district would feel that keeping guns out of nursery schools, bars, and other public spaces would make them feel much safer.