Athens Review, Athens, Texas

May 17, 2013

5/17 MAIL CALL: You might want to check those ‘numbers’ again

The Athens Review

STAR HARBOR — My thanks to our congressman who stood up for the Second Amendment. They obviously read the proposed background check bill and determined that it was a “feel good” bill that would not have prevented the shootings at Newton, Tucson or Aurora.

In fact it didn’t address two of the main shortfalls to reducing gun violence. The first is the 1996 HIPAA Act that prevents health care providers for releasing medical information. Providers can release limited information to the police, but only in certain court circumstances.

The second shortfall involves the method by which criminals obtain weapons. A 1997 U.S. Justice Department survey of 14,285 prison inmates revealed only 0.7 percent obtained their guns at gun shows, 1.0 percent from flea markets, 3.8 percent from pawn shops, 8.3 percent from retail stores, 39.2 percent from through an illegal/street source and 39.6 percent through family and friends. 7.4 percent had no answer (theft?).

Some say that 40 percent of all gun purchases are made at gun shows without a background check. The number comes from a 1997 study by the National Institute of Justice which used data from a 1994 survey. Only 251 people stated where they got their firearms. Current surveys now show less than 2 percent.

The Illinois Bourne County Sheriff’s Department demonstrated that magazine size makes little difference. It takes about 20 seconds to fire 30-round, 3-to-10 round or 5-to-6 round magazines. Ask any Veteran combat veteran what we did with our 20-round magazines to gain parity with the enemy.

Terrorists can use ammonium nitrate concoctions, firecrackers or kitchen matches in their pressure cookers. They don’t need gun powder.

Until health care providers are able to reveal medical information with repercussions and criminals submit to universal background checks, gun control measures being battered about will only impose unnecessary cost and restrictions to law-biding citizens while the criminal elements go about their business.

Richard Koziol

Star Harbor