The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 14, 2013

A balanced discussion

Daily Item

---- — I have so wanted to stay out of this issue but Dr. Pat Bruno's recent article about gun violence cannot go unchallenged. I have the greatest respect for Dr. Bruno and his many contributions to the health issues for our community. But, on this issue I must respectfully disagree with his cherry-picked facts and conclusion.

He cites the study of eight 12-year old boys in a room with a handgun and implies that this may be representative of all 12 year olds in this country. If the weapon used in this study was a common butcher knife from any kitchen in the U.S. I wonder how many would handle it and could we conclude that knives pose a danger to children's wellbeing. Dr. Bruno states, "the origins of gun violence are many" and he rightly lists many that most responsible gun owners think should be studied. Then, he immediately advocates a ban on assault style weapons and high capacity magazines; he also states that the most effective measure to preventing firearm injuries and deaths to children is the total absence of firearms from our homes and communities. That's like concluding the most effective measure to prevent motor vehicle related injuries and deaths to children is the absence of all motor vehicles from our homes and communities.

Dr. Bruno states, that doctors, teachers, city and state officials, gun owners, families and young people must come together with a creative and meaningful commitment to improving our society by proposing that before that discussion begins responsible gun owners, must concede their rights to own firearms of their choice, how disingenuous.

I support having those discussions, I would be very interested in the statistics of firearm related deaths and injuries of children 15 and younger within a 25 mile radius of Sunbury and see where it ranks when compared with other causes of death in this area.

I would also like to know the percentage of gun related deaths and injuries of that same age group as compared to the number of households in this area that have guns in their homes. Now, we should compare our local statistics with those of the city of Harrisburg or Philadelphia. I feel certain that rural Pennsylvania and rural America have far different stats then urban Pa. and urban America.

Before we propose a one size fits all approach to gun violence don't we deserve to review the facts and address the problem where it is a problem? Don't give me the argument that if we could just save one child. If that was a valid argument we would ban all late term abortions, all smoking and all pit bull dogs from this country.

I propose this paper research this issue as I proposed and present the facts in a fair and balanced manner so we can determine the scope of gun violence in our own back yard. I do not believe this is a national issue to be addressed by a federal, one size fits all law, but a state-by-state issue to be addressed by its citizens based on the scope of the gun violence issue within that state.

Snyder County should not be judged by the issues of Washington D.C. or New York City both areas with a history of very strict gun regulations and high gun violence ratios among children.

Jim Charles,