Letters to the Editor: Taking a professor to school

It speaks volumes about our educational system that, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, one can read a four sentence letter from a pro-CCW writer that has more truth in it than the lengthy and horribly misinformed letter from a Kent State University professor who teaches on the Constitution.

To the Editor:

I can't help but think about how the tragic death of that student could have been avoided if one person was carrying a concealed weapon. One well-placed shot could have ended the worthless life of the attacker and saved a worthwhile one.

Incidents like this show how much we need a concealed-carry law in this state. It will save lives.

Anthony Romano

The entire list of letters, pro and con, can be viewed on the Plain Dealer website.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for OFCC PAC truth-injecting commentary on the two anti-self-defense letters.

OFCC PAC Commentary inserted in red.

To the Editor:

As a political scientist who teaches the Constitution to undergraduates, I have always been skeptical of those who argue that the Second Amendment gives Americans a right to a private arsenal. And after my friend was shot on Friday at Case Western Reserve University, the insanity of that interpretation hit home for me even more.

Wonderful. A guy who can't understand the words "shall not be infringed" is teaching the Constitution to tuition-paying students at a state funded institution of supposedly higher learning.

How many must die or be hurt before policymakers show some leadership and start eliminating firearms? The more guns we tolerate, the more likely we are to see shootings like these.

FALSE. The facts show just the opposite. As Dr. John Lott Jr. wrote in a 5/13 op-ed in this same newspaper, "Gun control advocates conveniently ignore that the nations with the highest homicide rates have gun bans. Studies, such as one conducted recently by Jeff Miron at Boston University, which examined 44 countries, find that stricter gun control laws tend to lead to higher homicide rates. Russia, which has banned guns since the communist revolution, has had murder rates several times higher than that of the United States; even under the Communists, the Soviet Union's rate was much higher."

Yet the Ohio House just approved a concealed-weapons bill that makes it far easier for someone to walk into the Peter B. Lewis Building with a loaded weapon hidden in his or her book bag, and the Senate is likely to pass its version. Gov. Bob Taft should veto this legislation.

Since colleges are specifically (and unfortunately) on the list of "victim" zones defined in HB12, Cassell's assertion that the bill would "make it far easier for someone to walk into the Peter B. Lewis Building with a loaded weapon hidden in his or her book bag" is absolutely false. Furthermore, what could be easier than the gun control laws that allowed Mr. Halder the unopposed access he had Friday?

In the aftermath of this horrible shooting, I hope that someone will demonstrate true leadership by focusing attention on tightening - not widening - our too-broad access to guns.

Mark Cassell
Cleveland Heights

Before we talk about adding MORE gun control laws, "Professor" Cassell, let's examine the question of how all the existing gun control laws, such as "assault" weapons bans in Cleveland and by the Feds, and Ohio's current ban on self-defense with a concealed firearm, helped in stopping Mr. Halder. And let's stop opposing the one law (concealed carry reform) that is PROVEN to reduce multiple victim public shootings (as well as murder, rape, robbery and other violent crimes) in 43 states and counting.

Cassell is an assistant professor at Kent State University, and was formerly employed by the ultra-liberal University of Wisconsin-Madison.

5/13/03 Letter to the Editor:

If you think the attack at CWRU was frightening, wait until you see what happens after the National Rifle Association wins its fight against the ban on assault-type weapons.

Newson H. Shewitz
Cleveland Heights

So let's see if we understand you, Mr. Shewitz: You believe that allowing an existing ban on "assault weapons" (which obviously did NOTHING to deter Mr. Halder in the commission of his crime) to expire, will somehow increase the possibility that a man like Mr. Halder could shoot up a school in the future? Again, the TRUTH is, in Lott's words, "even after accounting for law enforcement, demographics, poverty and other factors that affect crime, the [assault weapons ban] laws did not reduce any type of violent crime. In fact, overall violent crime actually rose slightly by 1.5 percent, but the impact was not statistically significant. The somewhat larger increase in murder rates was. Even a 1995 study by the Clinton administration showed how rarely these guns were used in crime during the early 1990s, before the ban was passed. Fewer than 1 percent of state and federal inmates carried a military-type semi-automatic gun when they committed a crime. A later 1997 survey showed that this number was the same or slightly higher after the ban."

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