To the Editor: Being armed is sensible, even in ‘safe’ situations

In response to a letter in the Columbus Dispatch, in which a reader assigned mental illness to those who carry a gun, Buckeye Firearms Association President Jim Irvine submitted his own letter, which was published a few days later.

Regarding Sean Allen’s letter, “Shootings have become public-health threat,” in Friday’s Dispatch: Responding to a tragic accident in Idaho in which a 2-year-old child accessed his mother’s concealed handgun from her purse and shot her, Allen assigns mental illness to those who carry a gun, especially in safe towns where there is little crime.

Following his logic, anyone who lives in a neighborhood where fire is rare but has smoke detectors, fire extinguishers or fire insurance is mentally ill. Same for those who wear seat belts driving on “safe” streets or carry health insurance for healthy family members.

There is nothing wrong with preparing for danger. It is foolish not to.

Allen would surely mock anyone in the picturesque town of Cheshire, Conn., for having guns and being prepared for violence.

Cheshire is a “safe” town, in a “safe” state. It had not experienced a single murder for at least five years before 2007, or in the five years after. It is as “safe” as a town can be.

But such was the location of a brutal crime that gripped the nation in 2007.

Dr. William Petit was sleeping on the couch when the attack started. He was savagely beaten with a baseball bat and restrained with zip ties.

He later escaped, but not before hearing the cries of his wife, Jennifer, as she was raped and strangled. Mother and daughters Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, were beaten beyond recognition. The girls were tied to their beds.

Finally the house was doused with gasoline and set on fire with the women inside as Petit crawled to the neighbor’s house for help.

That crime started when the killers spotted the mother shopping for groceries with her daughters, just like the mother in Idaho. Probably believing she was safe, Jennifer Petit didn’t notice being followed home, where she and her children would be tortured and set ablaze in their beds later that night.

Leaving a gun where a child can access it is a mistake, and Veronica Rutledge paid for that mistake with her life. As bad is that incident was, it’s preferable to leading a criminal back to your home to kill your family.

According to the FBI and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the year 2011, there were 1.2 million violent crimes in the U.S., including 84,175 forcible rapes and 14,661 murders. There were only 591 accidental deaths by firearm.

Mothers instinctively protect their children. The greater danger is not carrying a gun responsibly; it’s believing you will never need one.



Buckeye Firearms Association


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