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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We need to strengthen gun laws

Each day, the news seems to bring reports of yet another shooting.

In light of these events, the recent move by the state legislature to introduce HB 398, which would repeal NC’s Purchase to Permit (PTP) law, is misguided.

Some may argue that since the NICS background check system has been improved that NC’s PTP law is duplicative and unnecessary. The caveat here is that federal background checks apply only to federally licensed gun dealers.

Repeal of NC’s PTP law would mean that handguns purchased online, at gun shows and from other individuals would fall through the cracks.

According to information from North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, research shows that PTP laws save lives. For example, after Missouri repealed its Permit to Purchase (PTP) system in 2007, its annual firearm homicide rate spiked by 23 percent during the period 2008-2010, while none of the states bordering Missouri nor the U.S. average saw similar increases during the same period.

Connecticut’s PTP law, passed in 1995, was associated with a 28 percent decline in Connecticut’s firearm homicide rate and a 33 percent decrease in their suicide rate from 1996-2007.

States with the strongest firearm laws — including states with PTP laws — are associated with lower firearm-related death rates than states without these laws, even after controlling for economic, demographic and other differences across states.

A study of homicide in large urban counties found that PTP laws were associated with an 11 percent reduction in firearm homicide.

Lower suicide rates are also associated with state PTP laws.

These laws are also associated with lower rates of firearm trafficking. A study of 11 years of ATF data on crime guns showed that PTP law states were associated with a significantly lower percentage of in-state crime guns recovered by police, meaning that fewer of the guns recovered by police after a crime had been trafficked from an in-state source.

If the law is outdated, encourage our legislators to fix it rather than repeal it entirely; now is the time to strengthen rather than weaken laws related to gun safety.

Anne Lipe
Richfield