To the editor:
I read the July 16 letter to the editor from Jeff Shad thanking “the Alexandria City Council for taking action to protect citizens from gun violence.” What Shad and City Council have failed to realize is that passing a law makes no one safer. In this case, City Council has actually derogated its duty to provide for the security of its citizens and has made the City of Alexandria less safe.
If passing a law prohibiting guns on city property prevented violence, such as murder or assault, would not the laws that already prohibit murder and assault be sufficient? The Alexandria City Council has merely given the citizens of Alexandria the facade of safety and has done nothing to actually prevent violence in public buildings or parks.
The ordinance that was passed did not provide for controlled access to city parks or buildings, the installation of metal detectors or even an increase in the number of police officers that would patrol city buildings and parks.
If you want to prevent guns from entering a building, all you need to do is look at the Alexandria Courthouse. The City of Alexandria learned a long time ago that physical barriers are how you protect unarmed people. Chicago should have learned a long time ago that banning guns does not prevent gun violence.
And let’s look at the statistics that Shad provides without any context. The current estimate of the number of permits to carry a concealed handgun in Virginia is approximately 650,000, or 7.6% of the population or one out of every 13 people. There is also a months-long backlog of new permit holder applications.
Because Virginia does not keep records of people with permits that commit crimes, the only means to estimate is to assume Virginia has a similar rate to other states. Take Texas for example.
Almost 1.4 million Texans had permits at the end of 2018, according to records from the state’s Department of Public Safety. That’s 4.7% of the population, or one of 22 people. In comparison, 41,180 people were convicted of felonies in Texas last year, but only 163 of them had concealed-carry permits. That’s .004 percent of felony convictions, or one of every 250.
Although statistics do not exist to make a similar comparison in Virginia, it can be said that less than one-tenth of 1% of the state’s concealed carriers had their permits revoked last fiscal year, or fewer than one of every 1,000. While committing a felony is a reason to have a permit revoked, it is not the only reason.
Shad’s allusion that Virginia permit holders are somehow more dangerous than non-permit holders is patently false.
The only thing the Alexandria City Council should be congratulated for is being duped by the anti-gun lobby. And no, guns do not kill. If that were the case, no one would get out of a gun show alive.
-Michael Zarlenga, Alexandria