Letter: Smart guns, smart leadership


To the editor of THE EAGLE:

Once in high school when I was vigorously making a point, I was interrupted by my teacher, who said, "Please don’t let the facts get in the way of your opinion." Tom Decker’s letter Aug. 23 attacking Warren Tolman, candidate for attorney general, for proposing "smart gun technology" on all new guns sold, brought that incident back to my memory ("Bad gun plan is also a power grab.")

The facts are these: The attorney general was given the authority by the Legislature to issue regulations to protect the pubic and has specific authority, upheld by the Supreme Judicial Court, to require safety devices on guns. Far from being a power grab as claimed by Mr. Decker. Any reasonable and responsible gun owner would agree that safety in no way precludes gun ownership and neither would smart gun technology -- personalizing a gun so that it cannot be used in the wrong hands.

Mr. Decker accuses Tolman of trying to win votes. The fact is it is about saving lives. From December 2012 to December 2013, at least 100 children were killed in unintentional shootings. Just this year a 14-year-old accidentally shot and killed his 9-year-old brother in Boston.

With more than two million children living in homes with unsecured guns, it’s about safety, not votes. Any reasonable and responsible gun owner can certainly support that. There are all kinds of smart gun technologies available and more are being developed every day (see www.intelligun.com and www.armatix.us).

These technologies are reasonable in price, effective, and provide gun owners with the peace of mind that their gun will not be used by the wrong person for the wrong reasons -- intentionally or accidentally. But none of them are available in the United States because of the NRA and gun shop owners, who steadfastly refuse to sell the guns.

Lastly, Mr. Decker calls for more common sense. What makes more sense than regulations that protect a gun owner’s rights and uses modern technology to save lives? Sounds like a common-sense idea from a leader -- Warren Tolman.


Hampden, Ma.

The writer is former chief of staff, office of the attorney general.


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