I found your program on guns to be very one-sided.
It is disturbing that my tax dollars are being used
to fund propaganda which is aimed at destroying my rights.
I also found it deeply troubling that the victim of
theft, Mr. Lorcin, was portrayed not as a victim, but as
"responsible" for the misuse of the guns he manufactures.
If a car is stolen and used to run down a child, are we to
hold the owner of the car lot responsible? The automobile
manufacturer? If I am beaten to death by a hammer, is
the maker of the hammer at fault? How about kitchen knives
and baseball bats? Where does it all end?
In all the emotional garbage your producer presented,
he seemed to have missed the criminological evidence which
shows that gun ownership is a net benefit to our society. Every year,
guns in the hands of responsible citizens are used to prevent
and stop crimes and save lives. How do I know? I went to
the library and read the pertinent criminological
literature. In an article published in the fall, 1995, issue of
the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Professor
Gary Kleck of Florida State University estimated that
private citizens use guns between 2.2 and 2.5 million times
a year for self defense. Kleck is a self-described liberal
Democrat and ACLU member who has never received any
funding from the NRA or any other gun-rights
organization. Kleck's results are supported by thirteen
other surveys of defensive gun use. According to the work
of Kleck and other unbiased researchers, defensive gun
uses are about three to five times more common than
criminal uses. Kleck also found that about 400,000 people
a year deploy firearms in situations where the act "almost
certainly" saved a life. This exceeds by more than a factor
of ten the number of lives lost each year to criminal
shootings. The facts are plain and unmistakable: if
gun-grabbers like Dr. Wintemute and your producer
are successful in disarming us, at least
400,000 innocent people will be murdered each year. In a
few short years, the total number of innocent victims may
exceed the 6 million killed in the Nazi Holocaust.
As someone said on the program, the traffic in
guns is pure capitalism. Minimal regulation of the
product, 'laissez-faire', that's what we Americans
want. We are fearful people, so we must be allowed
to buy as many guns as we want, without limits,
because that is the only way most of us can "feel
a sense of power", as someone else said. So what if
lots of people get blown away? Let the buyer beware.
M K Smith
I was very impressed with the report you did. While you could have chosen a better
speaker than the doctor who claimed to be a shooting or firearms instructor at one
time, who while presented with a not so difficult "jam" in the Lorcin called for
Lorcin should probably be shut down and its owner, operations and employees should
be thoroughly investigated.
I say this, by the way, as a former licensed gun dealer and a concealed carry permit
holder in my state, as well as a strong gun owner rights advocate.
While it is true that the BATF has a great deal of trouble operating under its
current policies and restrictions, it is also understandable that they not be given
the ability to set up a national registry. There is no reason for the government
to be able to find out, simply with the stroke of a few keys, weather my wife and I
own firearms, or what kind.
While I do agree that some laws could be passed to help both the government and the
law abiding gun owner (the Brady Law was not one of them, and is not applicable in
my state) I feel more strongly that the prosecution and punishment, stronger
penalties directed at, and swift justice towards people who commit crimes with
firearms, is a much better solution.
Is there a reason that the firearm used in this site is not one that is produced by
Lorcin? Are you aware of the fact that the firearm displayed is of much higher
quality and price than anything that could possibly be achieved by Lorcin? Or
that the firearm you chose to use is equipped with a laser sight that costs almost
as much as the firearm that is on, and must be purchased separately? If not I am
sure you are aware that this particular firearm, and its accessory, are much more
intimidating to look at than the Lorcin.
While I did find a few things I don't agree with or thought you could have done
better on, I thought that the report on the whole was very well done and well
balanced. Kudos on your pointing out the turmoil that faced Agent McCrary, and
must face many other officers, and showing that these people, BATF agents, have the
same concerns and interests as we the public do.
In my dealings with the BATF, as a gun dealer, I have yet to come across a "thug" in
fact ALL of the ones I have met are highly professional and personable.
Keep up the good work.
A New Loyal Viewer
While I understand the concern over the theft of guns from Lorcin and totally agree
that it appears they need help with security, it unfair to say that the 'Ring of
Fire Manufacturers' should not be allowed make their product. I have been an
undercover narcotics officer and have been on both ends of a gun but in my 30 years
of working with firearms, I have yet to see a gun jump up and shot someone. In
every instance there has always been someone holding the gun and pulling the
As to making gun manufactures liable for how their product is used, I completely
disagree. If you make gun manufactures liable the you will have to make automobile
companies liable because someone was killed or injured with a vehicle. What about
alcohol, tobacco, bicycles or kitchen knives? You cannot protect the public from
their own stupidity. If someone is going to commit a murder, the lack off having a
gun will not stop them. Besides, criminals don't go to FFL dealers to purchase guns
Their guns come from people selling them in bars, on street corners or out of trunks
of cars and they are usually stolen. It is not fair to tell an honest law abiding
citizen that they cannot own a particular kind of gun because a criminal uses it.
There is no amount of gun legislation that is going to stop criminals from
obtaining guns. The only way to stop criminals is make jails a living hell (instead
of a vacation with free room and board) or put them 6 feet under.
Wow, 40,000 people murdered each year across the
country. That's 80% of the death toll from the entire
ten years of the Vietnam war!!!! And people protested
then, why not now???? Are we as a society that numbed
to the idea of megadeaths via nuclear war, that open
warfare in our streets and homes means nothing to us?
Its time congress acted to ban all handguns. And lets
not stop there! They should put a ban on any weapon
that shoots more than two shots and is easily cancelable.
I am a gun owner. I own it to defend myself from the other
idiots out there that are stupid enough to use them to
murder innocent civilians. I would gladly offer my weapon
up to be melted if the congress would get off its ass and act
in the best interests of the people of this great nation and protect
us. 50,000 people died in Vietnam before we pulled out, with peace
and honor. Yet, almost that many die each year from gun deaths.
We must stop this now.
I think it absolutely irresponsible that Lorcin corporation creates
weapons that are nearly fingerprint proof. Who are these idiots who
came up with that idea? They are in the business of selling death,
just like the tobacco companies. they should be regulated to the point
of death of their business. Only guns for hunting should be allowed
anymore in this country. How many hundreds of thousands of people will
continue to die over the years before the NRA controlled Republican
congress gets off its ass and saves us. I for one will vote democrat.
at least they offered us the Brady bill.
Thank you for a very good program.
Michael J. Slebodnick
The report concerning the Lorcin gun manufacturing facility was very disturbing.
I am only 27 years old, and I remember when the worst thing someone brought to a
was their fists or an occasional solid object. I find the attitude towards guns and
manufacturing to be absolutely ridiculous. I hear everyone complaining about the
of violence in this country and the decline of our social courtesy towards others,
no one seems to do what it takes to reduce or eliminate this problem. Too much
in it I guess. I think that is a pretty sad situation. I almost feel ashamed to
that I am American. We have too many people who do not understand the difference
right and wrong and they have become desensitized by the huge amount of glamorous
violence that our
society puts out on TV, movies, literature and in many other media's. I hope
something happens to shut
down these excuses for gun manufacturers. The executives are uncaring idiots...
I'd like to say that as a Medical Student I have a rarely have an opportunity to
watch your show. Before your show on HOT GUNS I really had no opinion concerning
the gun issue. Until now! I find it very discouraging that the ATF is somewhat
powerless in its effort to control or regulate companies such as Lorcin. The
company president should be ashamed in knowing that his product is responsible for
such destruction. His cowardly attempt to deflect responsibility is why our gun
problem still exists. The security at his factory was a joke! Corner grocery
stores have more security then his establishment.
I feel that congress needs to get out of bed with the NRA and for once realize that
the dynamics of our national social structure does not reflect that of a
constitution written well over a hundred years ago.
Criminals will always be able to get whatever
weapon they want, no matter what laws are in
place. Laws against an object are useless,
harsh laws against the MISUSE of an object are
the only practical answer. As with any powerful
object, it can be used for great good, or terrible
evil. The good uses(self-defense) should be praised
and the evil uses should be severely punished.
Side by side with this has to be work done to
find and cure the reasons why there are more
and increasingly violent crimes being committed
in our society. Anything else is just typical
Daniel Polsby is right. The "instrumentality
theory" has fallen on its face. The availability
of guns has virtually nothing to do with the
level of crime. Think back thirty or forty
years ago, when guns were easily available:
you could buy by mail order, there were no
background checks, no waiting periods. There
was also considerably less crime. Low-cost
handguns were widely available, and yet there
was less crime. We have more crime now
because 1) we tolerate it, and don't enforce
existing laws, and 2) we have raised a
generation of young people who do not
respect authority, society, or even themselves.
The serial number on the gun is put on it to make the
gun safer for the public. I believe the manufacturer
should be sued by victims families under the product
liability laws since through their negligence they allowed a
deadly product on the open market. Which is required by
law to be printed and traceable to the purchaser and
therefore a deterrent against crime.
Thank you for the outstanding report.
I am amazed by the number of people who are diverted from the main
message in a story such as this. Although, Lorcin it's management and
employees have acted irresponsibly and the violent acts perpetrated by
the end users of their product are horrendous, the ultimate
responsibility for our safety, yours and mine lies with our government.
In this case the lack of funding for the ATF to perform it's job
adequately and the lack of guidelines for manufacturers of weapons of
destruction is appalling.
One more time the accountability issue as regards our government is
being avoided. Each and every legislator as well as all bureau heads
who send their personnel out into the field to face this plethora of
weapons needs to be held accountable.
As with the barracks bombings in Beirut and Saudi Arabia we the American
public(their bosses) reasonably expect to be protected from these sorts
of terrorism. The illegal guns on our streets are as much a form of
terrorism as planting and detonating a bomb.
I implore all who are concerned and alarmed by this article to write
their local legislators and demand stricter guidelines for the
manufacture and distribution of firearms.
Maybe a month in the trenches with officers in high crime areas such as
Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC., Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta
or any of the thousands of cities and towns throughout America would
enlighten these people(legislators) to whom they are ultimately
My hat is off to the men and women of law enforcement who have to
confront these weapons on a constant basis.
We will soon celebrate the 221st birthday of our country. We have
succeeded this far by learning and growing from our shortcomings. Let's
not let the outstanding message presented in this article pass without
working to the ultimate solution to the problem.
John Cairncross III
I would like to express my disappointment with PBS and my local affiliate,
KLRU-TV with the airing of the recent Frontline special on "Hot Guns". I
believe that the views expressed during the show were quite subjective and
biased. I am a law abiding gun owner and a supporter of public television,
however after the airing of this program, I now question the latter. It is
sad that all to often today, journalism has compromised its objectivity to
achieve sensationalism. Many journalists, as exemplified by the recent
Frontline, have forgotten how much of an impact their reporting has on the
layman in formulating their opinions and views. I hope that some form of
redemption is offered to the viewing public (especially the supporters
such as myself) as a result of this program.
Robert Otto Rasmussen, Ph.D.
The appalling lack of individual self-control and responsibility presently rampant
in American society indicates that many of us are unable to handle our
constitutional freedoms. The possible consequences of this dilemma could be the
loss of many of our freedoms through a desire to protect ourselves from each
Having seen your program on Hot Guns, I am concerned over the fact
that the ATF took it's time to arrest and convict the employee of
the gun company. While we as a nation become incensed and outraged
about "Saturday Night Specials" shootings in this nation, I think
that we overlook the fact that when a airplane from a major airline
crashes, and hundreds of people are killed instantly, we chalk it up
pilot error, poor judgment, or the weather. Not the airline or the
manufacture of said aircraft. As well as all the automobile crashes
that result in deaths in this nation.
As more regulation can and is instituted and more laws made, the real
loser is the honest citizen that is victimized by the faults that have
become the norm of the system that is taken for granted that we can live
"without fear" everyday of our lives.
If it becomes societies need to lower ourselves to the level of the criminal
to protect our selves with a firearm, then so be it.
The laws, at present, are good and enforceable if only the justice system, i.e.,
the police, courts and finally the prisons use these laws as the intent was, and
dole out the punishment that is required by law and not plea bargained away like a
"blue light special" at K-Mart.
Finally, the NRA is willing to work with Congress on a instant check system that
is cost effective not only to local police with little or no funds, but will
help find criminals that are trying to make illegal purchases. The criminal
element will always get guns by any means, but, if the system can "work,"
there is the possibility of a safer society.
If a person were just a little cynical, he could imagine that it was good
business for Lorcin to look the other way, while its guns were being stolen.
When you think about it, wasn't Lorcin just giving samples to its best
salesmen. The greater public would not be buying so many guns for protection
if there was no perceived need, and what better way to create a perceived
need than to arm the hoods. Its just good business; Lorcin probably sells
over 50 guns per "sample".
If a person were just a little more cynical, he could imagine that Lorcin is
not the only industry or political power base that thrives on the public's
perception that it has never been in greater need of protection from the
enemy within. We're talking serious big money here! In fact, when you come
right down to it, police protection is one of a small list of services for
which most people praise their elected officials and are actually happy to
pay taxes. For all these industries and political groups, Lorcin is a dream
come true, so why would there be a rush to shut it down?
Erich L. Gibbs, Ph.D.
So exactly what was Lorcin guilty of? Making
cheap guns? Is there a law, some kind of
consumer protection, which establishes minimum
performance and safety standards for such a
weapon? Did Lorcin's products not meet those
Is Lorcin guilty of poor record keeping? Does
the law say they must somehow keep track of
guns which are stolen prior to shipping?
Are they guilty of lax security? Are there
laws regarding minimum security standards and
background checks for gun manufacturer
It seems to me that if there is anything to
be angry at, it should be the lack of laws
in the first place. Lorcin might be selling a
very immoral product in a very immoral manner,
but if there are no laws against it, why get
angry at them?
Today, in 1997, in American, there can be no
valid reason for everyday law abiding
citizens to own handguns. To say that they
offer a family protection, is a lie.
Each day in America, one more child is killed
by a gun kept in a home under the excuse that
it's there to protect them from harm.
Visit an Emergency Room of a hospitals, see
the damage that a bullet does to another
human being. Nearly all of the costs to put
these victims back together - and it amounts
to millions of dollars per hospital lost each
year - is paid by you and me, the taxpayer,
because most of the victims don't have
From the near total lack of enforcement -
which raises the question of "why" isn't
the BATF being funded and "why" are they
using computers to verify the sell and
who's selling all of these guns and to whom -
it's no wonder why guns are flooding America.
The examples of the "ring of fire" gun makers
versus a "Smith & Wesson" type of gun maker,
show the glaring differences of why each is
in business. One makes guns. The other
makes a killing off of killer guns. The total
lack of security and accountability questions
why the Justice Department hasn't shutdown
these types of gun manufacturing companies.
The statement by the BATF agent, that there
may be as many as 14,000 guns illegally out
in the hands of criminals, is shocking.
Yesterday in Denver, CO, Tim McVeigh was
convicted of killing 168 people.
With 14,000 guns from this one gun company
missing, more people will be killed or
injured than what Tim McVeigh did.
So who is the more dangerous, one person who
kills 168 people or one man who supplies
over 14,000 guns, which will kill thousands?
What in the name of common sense is wrong
with Congress? Why can't they see what's
happening here - or is it that they just
refuse to see? Either way, they don't
belong in Washington, DC. Any fool can close
the barn doors after the horses have escaped.
We need people who know how to close the
doors before the horses run off!
Hot guns was an interesting program but was obviously incomplete. The
next program on the subject should investigate why the government does
absolutely nothing to punish the few firearms companies that neglect to
secure there place of business from easy trespass and from having their
firearms easily stolen. The whole firearms industry is getting a very bad
rap because of a few irresponsible companies. I don't own a firearm but I
strongly believe that law abiding Americans have the right to the option to
purchase firearms. Since government on all levels cannot protect innocent
people from violent criminals and the corrections system fails to keep
violent criminals behind bars for their full terms we must allow innocent
people to defend themselves, families and property whichever way they
feel they should as the wise founding framers of the constitution
Great and frightening story. Obviously the
Lorcin factory had ridiculously poor security
practices and procedures. I found the "quality"
argument about a gun that self destructs after
several hundred rounds an interesting one. Is
that necessarily a bad thing? If the handgun is
purely for self defense purposes how many rounds are
required to become reasonably proficient and then occasionally
re-acquaint oneself with it at the range. Historically,
how many rounds would a "quality" handgun made 100
years ago last with lesser materials and (I assume)
less uniform loads?
After viewing your program on hot guns I find myself in a state of disbelief. How
can thousands of killing instruments be unaccounted for by a weapons manufacturer?
I know the arguments for home defense and other reasons for owning a lethal weapon,
but I cannot help to see the lack of concern from that manufacturer that thousands
of pieces of his merchandise turn up missing. Doesn't he see that someone who
steals these weapons from his establishment are not law abiding citizens and most
likely these weapons will end up in the same type of persons possession? At the
least he should be guilty of criminal negligence. I say this because that his
product has the potential to kill and maim untold numbers of innocent people as the
record already shows. I am greatly disturbed that someone can be so unconcerned
about his missing guns and make the unbelievable statement that guns don't pull
the trigger by themselves, people pull the trigger. True, but those type of people
are the reason!
why his weapons are missing. I
I firmly believe we need stricter laws on the accountability and manufacter of
weapons in this country so that business's like Lorcin's are stripped of their
rights to create weapons of death.
Yes I believe that your gun laws make it easy for both legal and illegal obtainment
In Canada the laws are much more difficult and in most cases the need for a handgun
is for criminal use only.
I am a hunter and target shooter, I believe that the sporting use of shotguns and
rifles are important.
The only real use of a handgun is for protection. However, if there were not so many
illegal handguns then
the need for protection with a firearm would be reduced. The need for a handgun for
protection is a poor argument. Most people are
not trained and ready to shoot a human anyway. The other important issue is not
just the law but also enforcement. The punishment of a
criminal act using a firearm should be extremely severe. None of this sentenced to 15
years jail - out in 3 stuff. I realize this is
a burden on the tax system but that might be the cost of the right to bear arms and
still have a safe society.
My question to the US. - Is the right to bear arms (handguns) worth the cost of all
Whitby, Ontario, Canada
US puts more guns in peoples hands around the world then anyone else.
US exports more drugs (tobacco) then anyone else.
Us consumes more drugs then the rest of the world.
World is a global village. What goes around comes around.
Selective morality will not work.
New City, N.Y.
If there is a demand there will always be
a supply(basic economics). Just look at the
drug issue. We currently have about 2000
gunlaws on the books. Are any additional
laws going to make a difference. NO. How
about keeping the bad guys in prison for
a novel thought. The criminals are ones
committing the crimes not the people who
obey the laws.
Just a thought:
When they took the fourth amendment, I
was quiet because I had nothing to hide.
When they took the sixth amendment, I
was quiet because I was innocent.
When they took the second amendment, I
was quiet because I didn't own a gun.
Now they've taken the first amendment,
and I can say nothing about it.
If we punished criminals timely and harshly
for their violent crimes against the citizens
who are working hard and making the country
work, we could solve the problem. We must not
abridge the law-abiding people's rights in this
effort. The 2nd Amendment is an individual,
not a collective right, just like the rest of
the bill of rights. Lower income people have
the right and the duty to protect themselves,
their families and their businesses. One last
thought: I'll bet King George wished he had
banned "Junk Guns."
Sioux Falls, SD
I think expecting gun laws to prevent
criminals from having guns is like expecting
drug laws to keep drug addicts from
getting drugs. Also , If we get rid of small inexpensive handguns wont this mean
that criminals will end up with powerful, accurate expensive handguns?