A recent letter to the editor against background checks on gun sales (“Background checks won’t stop violence,” Sept. 8) cited a recent book by gun rights advocate John Lott repeatedly. Some of the statistics quoted seemed pretty out of line with reality to me, so I looked Lott up. Turns out he was widely discredited by his peers a decade ago for fabricating and massaging data to fit his conclusions. He also has a creepy habit of impersonating women online to praise or boost his own research. This new book appears to be just as full of lies and false statistics in support of his bogus conclusions.

The truth is well documented by legitimate studies. More guns and weaker laws result in more suicides, murders and accidents, not a safer society. Google Harvard’s Injury Control Research Center for the real facts. You’ll find similar well researched data and conclusions published at Stanford, Yale, John Hopkins and elsewhere.

Closer to home the Maine Chiefs of Police Association supports Question 3 calling for background checks on private gun sales. According to Police Chief Ed Googins of South Portland, “Criminal background checks are the single most effective way to prevent felons, domestic abusers, people with severe mental illness and other dangerous people from purchasing a firearm.” That’s an excellent point, and now that we have a law allowing anyone to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in Maine, no experience with firearms or safety training necessary, let’s make sure all guns sold in the state go to responsible individuals with a legal right to own a gun.

Deborah Fahy


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