Criminals prefer more powerful weapons
Stabroek News
October 20, 2001

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Dear Editor,

I refer to Mr Medrick Yhap's letter titled "Widespread issue of guns is not the answer to crime" (SN Oct 12, 2001). [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ]

While I agree to some extent that gun licences should not be issued widely I insist that Mr Yhap proffers weak arguments in support of his contention, and his letter contains many inaccuracies. I therefore address those as follows: -

1) It is erroneous to say that criminals obtain their weapons from citizens who are licenced firearm holders. This is only so to a small extent. If Mr Yhap reads the police press releases, he would observe that in most shootings and other crimes, the weapons used or recovered are usually .380, 9mm or .38 calibre. In some cases fully automatic weapons are used. Civilians are not allowed fully automatic weapons and the majority of them are confined to low powered .22, .25 or .32 calibre handguns. Criminals, it would appear prefer to use more powerful and sophisticated weaponry which are probably sourced from illegal arsenals.

2) Mr Yhap uses a bad case in point. He makes reference to a licenced gun holder whose weapon was taken away by his attackers after he failed to use same to defend himself and an 11 year old girl who was assaulted. Mr Yhap castigates the gun owner for not using his weapon.

Doesn't Mr Yhap know that there were special circumstances surrounding that incident. Doesn't he know that those attackers were part of a large protest march and procession on the East Coast during a period of high political and ethnic turmoil, and that if the gun owner had shot any of those attackers, all hell would have broken loose.

You see, Mr Yhap, sometimes prudence dictates that one temporarily cedes one's rights for the preservation of life itself, and more so, for the life of the nation. In this regard, I believe that the gun owner made a prudent decision not to use his weapon.

3) Clearly Mr Yhap is not very conversant with guns when he describes the weapons that civilians own as "sophisticated". I am at a loss to know what makes a .22, .25 or .32 caliber gun "sophisticated". These are low powered calibres and are not currently used in any part of the world as a primary weapon.

4) Mr Yhap says that business people and other wealthy people are not targeted, so they in effect do not need guns. Well the truth is criminals have attacked many businessmen in the past and the one reason that many businessmen are spared attacks is the fact that they are carrying firearms. The criminals know that this category of citizens are armed and this acts as a deterrent.

5) Businesspeople do not need to be gunfighters to effectively repel criminals. It must be borne in mind that a licenced firearm is for defensive purposes and should only be used for that.

As stated earlier, I believe that there should not be a proliferation of gun licences but qualified, law-abiding and responsible citizens should be allowed to one proper firearm, not the .22, .25 and .32 that are currently doled out to civilians.

Yours faithfully

P. Singh