In his March 28 column supporting L.D 652 (“Firearms civil liberties could be advanced with proposals this year”), M.D. Harmon cites statistics on declining gun crime rates for which he credits “liberalized firearms laws,” implying the bill will make us safer.

But the National Rifle Association’s relentless lobbying for looser gun laws has a side effect. Its attempt to normalize guns as a part of daily life in America has led to a casual attitude resulting in an astonishing number of deaths and injuries because of improper handling or storage of guns, or because of just plain foolishness on the part of gun owners. These are not crimes, but accidents. Accidental discharges in public places: stores, hotel rooms, restrooms, even gun shows. People showing off “toys” and accidentally shooting themselves or a friend. Children finding guns at home with tragic results.

Need examples? Check out the GunFAIL reports by Daily Kos blogger David Waldman. The last one has 100 examples during two weeks in late 2014, including 41 people shooting themselves and 22 shootings involving children. Waldman collects news stories about accidental shootings on Pinterest, where he has documented 570 examples so far this year (www.pinterest.com/david6212).

Add the all-too-frequent instances where a “good guy with a gun” shoots someone in a road rage or parking incident or some other petty argument. Add the terrible toll domestic violence takes on families in Maine and across the nation.

A study (www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research) by the Injury Control Research Center at Harvard’s School of Public Health found “the claim of many millions of annual self-defense gun uses by American citizens is invalid.”

L.D. 652 would allow any gun owner to carry a concealed gun in Maine anytime, anywhere. No need for experience handling a gun or gun safety training. I for one will not feel safer.

Deborah Fahy

Hallowell


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