Gun control: the need for rational debate: Letter

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The Independent Online
Sir: The item "Home Office challenges gun lobby evidence" (2 August) describes the Home Office paper which makes comparisons between gun-related crime rates in Britain and the United States.

If I felt that gun control would protect our children I would support it without hesitation, but to make this kind of global comparison overlooks the fact that gun control laws in the United States vary enormously from state to state.

I understand that in Washington DC, where the crime rate is extremely high, there already exists a ban on handguns as is proposed here, whereas in many states which allow gun ownership, gun-related crime is comparatively much lower.

Is it too much to ask for an objective analysis of the American data which already exists so that simplistic, emotive and idealistic responses to this issue can be reduced? After all, at first view the American situation may suggest that our children may be more at risk, not less, if handgun ownership is made illegal.

ALAN QUINN

Macclesfield, Cheshire

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