PBS: Public Broadcasting System. Public meaning
it is subsidized with MY tax dollars. When my tax dollars
are used to broadcast a one sided viewpoint of guns dubbed
"junk" by those with an agenda hostile to private firearms
ownership, I am offended. My second amendment right is an
individual right which I have and which you have. I value
that right. It is just as important as the other individual
right which we all value so much: the first amendment right
to free speech. When that right is abused by those with
an agenda contrary to mine and I'm forced to pay for it;
that speech is no longer free, nor am I.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
No, I do not believe our gun laws make it
easy for criminals to get guns. First of all
it must be realized that a law, any law, means
nothing to the criminal mind. Laws to these
people are, at best, minor inconveniences that
are to be circumvented. Look at the murder
rate in Wash. DC. which has the most restrictive
gun laws in the country.
Post Falls, ID
The criminals have always had easy access to guns.
Every new gun law only hinders the honest/ law abiding person.
Since majority of homes have firearms, home firearm safety training should be look
The national conceal carry permit should be approve, for
the criminals know that 'out of state' travelers are easy prey.
CDC should not be using federal funds to study firearm deaths as a disease.
Brady Bill should be replaced with 'Instant Check', for the 'Brady' hinders and
the honest person from acquiring a handgun when he/her desires to, therefore it
restriction on the second amendment. You can not place restrictions on your rights,
you can on
No, Our gun laws make it easier for no-criminals to get guns. Criminals never have
and never will have a problem getting firearms. Our gun laws make it difficult for
the authorities to track a gun. Congress doesn't want to use computers to track
guns because of some sort of privacy issue (that's stupid) . It's not tougher guns
laws that we need. The laws just need to be realistic and fair to our policemen.
After watching your program on Tuesday night,
I became even more frightened at the prospect
that ANYONE can be carrying a weapon and will
be able to use it whenever they want to. The
cheap guns were cheap because the owner of the
business skimped on such things as security.
If he would have had qualified personnel
watching his business (he had one, but that
poor guy had to file a discrimination suit)
then he would have to charge more for his
product. As it is, he is losing so many guns
through theft at his plant, that he will have
to recoup his losses somehow, someday.
I was particularly disappointed in the cliché
he used "guns don't go off by themselves", but
you put a gun in the hand of a child or
someone who is not responsible and the gun
can't help but "go off by itself". It was
a cop out on his part.
Linda M. Johnson
Being a police officer and chief of police also having a federal firearms license
for 6 years. I have never arrested a suspect with a legally owned firearm nor have
I ever had a criminal try to purchase one from me .guns laws only affect law
abiding citizens the criminal element are going to obtain there firearms just as
they do every thing else ILLEGALLY when is the media going to point this out
...instead of scarring the hell out of the American citizen??
After watching your show, I am amazed that Lorcin has not been
sued for ignoring security problems that lead to thousands of guns being
stolen from their gun factory over a prolonged time period. According to
your show, some of these guns were later used in violent crimes including
carjacking, robbery, and murder.
If Lorcin devoted some of the resources and attention that Smith
and Wesson does to site security, some of these crimes may have been
averted. Lorcin is knowingly manufacturing a product which is just as
deadly as Smith and Wesson's. The company is aware of the lucrative trade
in, and proliferation of ownership of unlawfully held guns in the US.
Lorcin should therefore be held accountable for its apparent lack of
concern for the security of the weapons while the guns were in their
possession. The company and its officers should be hauled into court by a
consortium of its victims.
By the way, I am not a frothing anti-gun nut. In fact, I enjoy
shooting a lot. But I do not expect my fellow citizens to become
crime statistics through casual and illicit trafficking in firearms.
Guns are not toys. Lorcin knows that.
Khalil J. Spencer
Under the illusion that most cheap handguns are used for self-defense, Lorcin boasts
a 40% market share for sales of their L380. Under what illusion do they apply a
special coating to the L380 that won't retain fingerprints? Is this an engineering
coincidence or another marketing scheme aimed at our inner-cities' underbelly, from
a company with a Teflon conscience?
There are thousands of gun laws on the books in this nation currently. However, any
criminal who wants a gun can easily obtain one and when criminals are arrested
with illegal guns; these gun violations are rarely prosecuted. For example,
President Clinton bragged that his Brady Law prevented thousands of gun sales. He
failed to mention, however, that only seven people were prosecuted in the four
years of the law. Any criminal willing to violate laws prohibiting murder or rape,
which carry the stiffest penalties in our justice system, certainly will not be
afraid to ignore any piddly gun law. We must punish criminals who will use guns,
knives, baseball bats, fertilizer bombs, or their bare hands to harm people; not
prohibit honest citizens from obtaining the tools needed to defend themselves. It
is easier to indict "scary" inanimate objects than to address the reality that
there are evil people in our society who must be stopped. A gun is a tool that
allows the vulnerable to defend themselves. A gun can be the equalizer for the 4'11' woman being
attacked by a 200lb would-be rapist. A gun can allow the elderly woman to drive
away the young home invader. It amazes me how anti-gunners persecute guns like the
18-shot 9mm Glock 17 as an "evil instrument designed solely for human destruction
that nobody has any business owning" when a private citizen owns it, but that same
gun on the hip of a Washington DC. police officer is merely a tool used to
protect the officer and others. We must control our criminals, not our guns.
Definitely. Check the statistics. England has very
strict gun control laws and the result is a very
low gun related death/injury rate. Yes it is true
that guns don't kill people. People kill people,
but guns make it a lot "easier" to kill people. Guns
make the job very easy and impersonal. If the
only weapon available to modern man was a knife there
would be a lot less murders as most would be killers
would not have the stomach to pull it off. Plus it
would be much easier to track the suspect.
As far as the "Right to bear arms" goes...well that
was a long time ago when that right was written and
the country/world has changed dramatically since
then. One typically does not have to fear of a
bear attack while strolling through the neighborhood
these days or a call to arms by the government to
defend one's home. The people who authored these
rights were brilliant, but they were not Gods. Even
people in this century with new knowledge of the
world and it's people can improve on work of the
past. How about if we give people the right
not to live in fear of their neighbor and his
arsenal of weapons. Outlawing firearms is the
best solution. The price will then go way up
causing availability to drop and the number of
related deaths, both accidental and inflicted to
go down. Or, as an alternative, instill moral principals into the
hearts and minds of mankind. Of course since evolution is a slow
process and sometimes tends to go backwards,
laws will have to work for now.
"Guns don't kill people, they just make it a lot
easier to kill people."
Let me get this straight:
Three years ago, the US. Congress bans sale and manufacture of expensive,
well made, and reliable firearms such as the M1A1 and AR-15 because the are
successfully but falsely labeled the "gun of choice" for criminals.
Today, the US. Congress and the well oiled dis-information machinery of
are back for another bite. This time the targets are inexpensive, low end,
less reliable firearms. Again the argument is that these are the "guns of
choice" for criminals.
The hypocrisy is astounding.
Jeffrey G. Wilson
Lack of enforcement of laws already on the
books is the biggest problem. Just look at the
incredibly low number of prosecutions under
the Brady law. In the majority of criminal
cases, illegal gun use and possession charges
are dropped as part of a plea bargain. You
may not agree with the NRA, but their "Crime
Strike" program is designed to ensure that
criminal misuse of firearms does not go
NO! Just as drug laws don't stop illegal drugs from entering the country, gun laws
don't stop criminals from obtaining guns from illegal sources. Criminals aren't
about to submit to background checks and waiting periods. These laws only burden
the law abiding citizens who seek to buy a handgun to protect themselves or their
families, or for recreation. What we need to do is demand that the Federal
government prosecute criminals under federal law (i.e., US. Criminal Code, Title
18) which would put the average felon who illegally procures, uses, handles, or
sells firearms away for several lifetimes without possibility of parole. Because
the Justice Department fails to do its duty by prosecuting under federal law, 17
murders, 14 rapes, 57 robberies, and 22 assaults are committed every day by
criminals on parole! Clinton bragged about using the Brady Bill to keep 60,000
criminals from buying guns, but how many were actually convicted for making a false
statement on the application? Seven. And of those seven, only 2 were real gun runners, and they were
given no jail time. What a terrible hoax to play on the American people.
No, laws don't make it easy; the failure of the Justice Dept. to prosecute criminals
under federal law makes it easy, and allows criminals convicted of violent crimes
back on the streets to commit more. Which is why law abiding citizens should not
be unduly hampered from purchasing firearms for their own protection. Research
gathered by professors James Wright and Peter Rossi, co-authors of "The Armed
Criminal in America, " points to the armed citizen as perhaps the most effective
crime deterrent in the nation.
As a lifelong PBS watcher, I would like to add my support to letter-writer
J. Neil Schulman, who sent you an e-mail in which he noted his interest in
seeing Frontline "produce a complementary documentary looking at the 2.45
million times each year that firearms are used defensively in the United
This is a classic case of what Frederick Bastiat called "the seen and the
unseen." What we see are the thousands of gun-related assaults every year.
They are bloody, tragic, and shocking. What we do not see -- mostly because
people fear to report the incidents to a victim-disarming police force --
are the millions of times that guns are used by people to defend themselves
against assault. This includes a large number of situations in which the
gun is not even fired! What could seem less interesting than the mugging
that did not occur, the rape that was stopped, the murder that never
happened? I suggest, however, that at least part of the recent decline in
crime is due to the rapidly increasing number of guns in the hands of \good\
people who now carry them regularly. We may be reaching a saturation point
where criminals more often encounter victims who are armed or within
shouting distance of someone who is.
This is a stunningly under publicized story of women fending off rapists by
flashing a pistol, of home-alone children protecting themselves from
home-invaders with a small-caliber rifle, of the weak and good stopping
otherwise overwhelming physical force using a tool that is not inherently
evil, but rather a tool like any other: terrible when placed in the hands of
the evil, a lifesaver in the hands of the good.
I look forward to FRONTLINE examining this untold tale of the empowerment of
the otherwise defenseless in an upcoming report. Is this a story I -- and
others who watch your program -- may expect in the near future?
I have several comments about the "ring of fire" program.
First, the real crime here is not that Lorcin produces and sells inexpensive
handgun. The crime is that they allowed 14,000 handguns to be stolen from their
factory and sold illegally on the street. Banning inexpensive guns simply because
they are inexpensive is wrong. Pulling Lorcin's license to manufacture handguns
would be much more effective and could be done UNDER EXISTING FEDERAL REGULATIONS.
Second, your example of a Lorcin gun jamming was very misleading. All firearms,
especially small ones, are sensitive to the brand of ammunition. Specifically,
bullets vary in shape and it is very difficult to make a feed ramp that can
accommodate ALL brands and bullet shapes without jamming. Several very high
quality expensive guns tell you "use only XXXX brand ammunition" Simply because
Frontline found a brand of ammunition that did not feed reliably in a Lorcin is not
unusual, in fact its to be expected.
Third, the state of Maryland has had a Saturday Night Special ban for many years.
As a requirement each gun is tested for accuracy, utility and safety. Why did
Frontline not report that the "ring of fire junk guns" were tested by Maryland and
found totally acceptable? A member of the Maryland gun test board being a self
proclaimed handgun abolitionist was quoted in a Washington newspaper years ago
saying the board was unable to ban these guns because they passed all of the
accuracy, safety and utility tests defined by the board.
Fourth, ATF itself admits that just because a gun has had a trace request does not
mean it was used in a crime. Therefore, the use of ATF trace requests to reflect
the use of firearms in crime is a dubious assumption at best (ATF's own opinion).
Fifth, I would like to see Frontline rework it's crime statistics. The factory
theft route to the black market can be easily shut down (threat of license
revocation). If the 14000 guns stolen by a single person were not included, how do
the remaining Lorcin handguns compare statistically in criminal misuse?
Finally, inexpensive guns may be much more attractive to illegal gun runners simply
be basic high school economics. A gun bought for $50 and sold on the street for
$100 yields a 100% profit margin. A $500 Smith&Wesson sold on the street illegally
for $600 yields only a 20% profit. Also, out on the street there are a lot more
criminals willing to part with $100 than $600 just like there are a lot more $12000
Chevys on the road than $50000 BMWs.
Your Frontline Report was biased with the
usual overload of liberal slant. The program opens with a murder and attempted
murders but focuses on the
tool of the crime rather than the criminal
who committed it. When the people behind
these crimes are put in prison and kept
there or given capital punishment and
receive it quickly, then crime will fall dramatically. Remember, if guns cause
crime then matches cause arson. Think
What I think it shows is that the Brady Act and the Assault weapons
Ban are ineffective. They hinder law abiding citizens, but criminals can
easily skirt the system. Law abiding citizens who buy handguns from law abiding
fill out tracing paperwork. Even shipping a firearm from one place to another
requires tracing paperwork. Firearms may not have the Consumer Safety Commission
behind them, but I don't recall ever filling out tracing paperwork or waiting five
days to purchase a Teddy bear. I am also sure that black market teddy bears
probably don't comply with the Consumer Safety Commission regulations either.
The bottom line is this: Criminals will commit crimes. Lock them up for
very long times if they use weapons in the commission of those crimes. Don't let
out on parole. Put illegal gun traffickers in prison for very long times. Don't
them out on parole. All of the acts depicted on your show were illegal. From
to theft. Punish the people who are guilty but don't simply make it harder for
law abiding citizens to defend themselves from these criminals.
I speak for myself and not Intel.
Current gun laws are more than adequate to keep guns out of the hands
of criminals. In my opinion, the lack of enforcement of current laws, particularly
the inadequate prosecution of those committing crimes with guns is the main
reason for rising use of guns in criminal activity.
Since law enforcement entities are not able to protect the populace from armed
it is vital that no new laws be enacted which proscribe gun ownership by law abiding
Bernard E. McLean
Crystal Lake IL
Criminals are always going to be able to obtain guns, this is fact. More anti-gun
laws will only place limitations on law-abiding gun owners who want to be able to
As with the tobacco industry bashing, I'm frustrated by the recent trend of blaming
manufacturers for the irresponsible actions of the consumer.
Can we realistically child-proof the entire country?
I believe the focus should be being placed on why people are shooting each other
undaunted by the criminal justice system.
Inexpensive, short-lived, hand guns are useful as car guns because of the
increased likeliness of having them stolen from your car. Personally I see no
other use for them, but regardless,
I'd oppose any further anti-gun laws based on the logic that it's a step closer to
an all out ban. (that won't impact criminals.)
I don't believe that my right to defend myself should be compromised as a result of
the criminal justice system's failure to instill fear in those who chose to misuse
Our Gun laws are irrelevant to the accessibility of firearms
if you think any different you should examine the gun laws of Mexico
, they are much more restrictive yet guns, most of which were smuggled in from
our country abound. Since the distribution
network already exists for stolen and smuggled firearms
into the United States it is a foregone conclusion
that any laws will not stem the flow. All that any
attempts to "ban" any thing have proven is that if market
desire exists suppliers will accommodate.
All any legislation will do is make small time illegal
gun dealers into wealthy and powerful gun cartels.
Have we forgot the lessons of drug and alcohol banning.
The problem is not with the machines but with
the minds that willed them.
I wish your show had been more balanced with interviews of other gun companies such
as Glock and Smith & Wesson.
I think you should have stuck to the issue of irresponsible gun makers and users and
left the cost/criminal allusions out of the show. The graphics and narrator got a
little lurid sometimes.
San Antonio, Tx
Your program of June 2nd, sadly influenced by the prevailing hysteria
over the destructive power of firearms, requires balance by a less
superstitious, more principled, and more pragmatic view.
The superstition to be avoided is that an inanimate object can be "evil."
Primitive peoples have always blamed such objects for bad consequences in
their lives: broken mirrors are claimed to cause bad luck; voodoo dolls
are claimed to cause disease and pain; and guns are said to cause crime
and violence. The fact is, life's disasters are caused by two things:
physical laws behaving chaotically, and living beings taking actions.
Criminals alone are to blame for crime and violence.
The indispensable principle here is that there's no substitute for
self-protection. Except in rare cases in which police just happen to be on
the scene when a crime is committed, they can only draw chalk lines around
the bodies and hope to find the culprit. When they ARE present during the
commission of the crime, long-standing legal precedent holds that they
have no responsibility to intervene on the victim's behalf. This
principle lies at the heart of the Second Amendment, whose purpose is to
guarantee forever our ability to defend ourselves against crime and tyranny.
The pragmatic issue is simply this: Disarming victims increases crime.
It's logically unassailable, and all the crime statistics bear witness to
it. How does the Second Amendment protect us?
There are two modes of protection offered by the Second Amendment, and
only one gets much attention: the obvious benefit of being prepared to
defend oneself with arms when need be. This benefit, while necessary and
important, has risks attendant to it -- for one can't engage in an act of
self-defense without some risk of failure.
The other mode of protection that our natural right to bear arms,
unimpaired by unconstitutional restrictions on HOW one carries arms
(concealed or openly), offers a general, systemic benefit that is
undiluted by the risks of actual self-defense. That mode consists in the
expectation of would-be criminals: "Is my intended victim armed or not?"
When a criminal has no way of knowing whether someone is unarmed, and has
good reason to suspect that person could be carrying a concealed weapon,
there is a much more difficult psychological barrier to overcome in order
to carry out an act of violence. That barrier protects the armed and the
unarmed alike. It also protects the armed from the risks of actual
self-defense, simply by reducing the likelihood that a criminal will have
the guts to attacked a potentially armed individual.
This second mode of protection is, in pragmatic terms, probably more
valuable to society than the primary mode of self-defense. It is truly
mistaken to risk losing it through unconstitutional legislation, however
appealing the declared motivations for doing so might be.
Kent Van Cleave
Just when I get all excited about the quality
of your journalism in your recent piece regarding
the child abuse case in NC, you go and do what
has the trappings of a "political" piece. In
fairness, I must commend your efforts to give
equal time to the Lorcin representative. Yet,
I feel that this effort could have gone further.
Two recommendations might be considered. First,
since the manufacturer had clear vested interests,
any rebuttal to their opponent's sweeping
generalizations about the legitimate uses of their
product would clearly be undermined. Several credible
authorities on the subject (some of whom you cite
in your "pro/con" references) should have been
interviewed as well. Second, perhaps more
critical attention should have been paid to the BATF's
recent boasting of a decline in Federal Firearm
License holders and their stated desire to continue
discouraging this legal commerce. Afterall, if
you open a Pandora's box like this, you should be
prepared to go all the way and find out the real essence
of the story. I think you missed it this time. It
seems clear to me that the essence of this story was
and is the mismanagement of Lorcin's operation and the
BATF's seeming unwillingness to enforce their own
regulations while rapidly pursuing small time,
home operated, collector oriented businesses. Rather,
you apparently enjoyed titillating the viewer with
suggestions of mass marketing (of legitimate commercial
enterprises) and unsubstantiated and unchallenged
statistics on violent crime. I've seen you do
better work. Please keep your standards high.
Your treatment of both sides of the issue
was pretty fair, but I failed to notice any
mention of how many peace officers lives have
been spared, due to the malfunction of a
criminal's "cheap" handgun. I have read many
accounts of such occurrences.
Also, there was little (if anything),
mentioned about the "crime deterrent" value
of the law-abiding sector of our "armed"
public. How many crimes were avoided because
a criminal believed the potential victim was
The facts presented about illegal gun sales
and use is no different than the debate over
the sale, use, and danger of tobacco. Look
how long it has taken the government and the
public to come to terms with the fact that a
socially accepted drug was harmful to users
and innocent bystanders. Just now, the
tobacco industry is being brought to
accountability. Bringing the gun manu-
facturers to accountability will not happen
until the public becomes convinced that
personal firearms do not make one's family
safer. I think the self-protection argument
is a myth. I don't hear of very many cases
in the news where someone has defended their
home successfully with a firearm. I usually
hear of someone being gunned down by a
criminal. Someday I hope to see our govern-
ment getting serious about gun control so
that the rest of us who do not own guns will
I really think that we need to take more serious
actions in ridding the guns from society. Selling them to the public is even stupid.
Cause a lot of
these guns end up being used against the owner
or are stolen and used in crime.
Gun manufacturers should be shut down. There
are enough guns on this planet now. The only
people who should be allowed use of them is
the police and affiliates.
The more guns that find their way to the street,
the more crime that will be committed.
It's time to end this ignorance!
Several years ago I had a conversation with Jim Waldorf, president
of Lorcin Engineering, in which I suggested to him that his company
would be subject to relentless attacks if he did not find a way
to quantify the number of times each year that his products were
being used to stop crimes and save lives. We discussed various
different methods of obtaining such information from purchasers
of Lorcin firearms, such as survey forms being placed into the
boxes of each firearm sold which offered some sort of recognition
or incentive for Lorcin purchasers who were willing to tell Lorcin
about an incident of using a Lorcin firearm in a gun defense.
After your show tonight, partly financed by the loudly anti-gun
Wellness Foundation, featuring the loudly anti-gun Garen Wintemute,
and which focuses only on those of Lorcin's guns being used
for criminal purposes, I'll bet that Jim Waldorf wishes he had
taken my advice.
I'm sure that in the spirit of the First Amendment, which hopes
for a free and fair inquiry in all matters of public policy,
that I can count on Frontline seeking grants from the Second
Amendment Foundation and the NRA in order to produce a complementary
documentary looking at the 2.45 million times each year that
firearms are used defensively in the United States.
Meanwhile, I strongly suggest that anyone interested in the other
side of the gun issue take a look at the World Wide Web Gun Defense
Clock at http://www.netstorage.com/pulpless/gunclock.html , which
calculates a gun defense once every thirteen seconds in the
United States -- and points to the criminological literature that
proves the reality of the widespread protective value of privately
J. Neil Schulman
author, STOPPING POWER: WHY 70 MILLION AMERICANS OWN GUNS &
SELF CONTROL NOT GUN CONTROL
(both available for download from http://www.pulpless.com)
Yes, I think the current laws make it extremely easy for criminals to get guns...any
guns. I personally do not want to be penalized of my right to purchase and own a
gun, but I certainly would like to see criminals find it extremely difficult to
obtain them. This company Lorcin, should be very heavily penalized for the "loss"
of 14000 guns, that is absolutely horrible. How can we allow this to continue?
That man you interviewed should be shot(with one of his own lost guns!!!), or at
the very least put away behind bars forever...he's extremely dangerous and just
using the legal system for his own benefit and "entertainment" while making lots of
money. The fact is that he should be held directly responsible for his
company's slackness and loss of these guns. He should be held (at least indirectly)
responsible for every crime that has been committed with these lost guns. I am
absolutely appalled (sp?) that he's allowed to get away with this. I am extremely
tired of the criminal society (of which society I put this person into)getting away
with not being held accountable for their actions, while the average American
citizen has no rights, and is usually the innocent victims of the crimes committed
by these people with these guns. I am also a nurse, and I am getting weary of
taking care of the people who have no care for human life, shooting others as well
as being shot themselves frequently, and costing us many, many dollars in health
care costs because they aren't employed or even insured. Something has to change,
or we are ALL going to be at the mercy of these criminals.
Never, anywhere, has any gun law reduced crime or violence. The "evidence" leans
toward the opposite, showing, at the very least, that less restrictive legislation
has no negative impact on crime or violence. Gun laws, like all laws, apply only
to the law-abiding which, by definition, are not the problem. Gun laws typically
"create" criminals from otherwise peaceful citizens by outlawing otherwise
legitimate behavior, such as possession of some such "evil" item. Guns are used
some 2-2.5 MILLION times per year in the US. in legitimate self defense. This
dwarfs the criminal misuse of guns, but the liberal politicians and media, such as
yourselves, never let the public hear about how those "evil" guns are really so
properly useful and safety-providing! Such blatant lies, distortions, ignorance,
idiocy, and presumption of "evil" and "uselessness" is why PBS will never get a
nickel of my charity contributions. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going out to
Jeff A. Pittman, P.E.