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Posted: 10/30/2001 9:18:58 AM EDT
[url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9035-2001Oct29.html[/url] Tuesday, October 30, 2001; Page A20 Does Eric Holder Jr. honestly think that enacting yet another law will keep firearms out of the hands of terrorists [op-ed, Oct. 25]? By definition, terrorists are criminals who do not obey the law. They can steal firearms, purchase them on the black market, smuggle them in from other countries, etc. And, contrary to what Mr. Holder claims, official studies have shown that the Brady law has had little if any effect on the criminal ownership and use of firearms in the United States. It is the same old situation of hope over reality. Find a problem and pass another law. But laws affect only the law-abiding and impinge upon their right to protect themselves. M. R. SUSSMAN Mt. Pleasant, Mich. • Former Clinton administration deputy attorney general Eric Holder wrote that a "previously convicted felon and terrorist, Ali Boumelhem, went to a Michigan gun show, where he was legally exempt from a background check, and purchased assault weapons, shotguns, ammunition and flash suppressors that he intended to ship to the terrorist group Hezbollah." Without exception, as a convicted felon, Mr. Boumelhem was prohibited from purchasing a firearm anywhere in the United States. Furthermore, Mr. Holder mischaracterized the case of four people convicted last year of illegally buying guns at a Florida gun show. He played down the fact that enforcing the law worked, because he was more interested in advancing the charge that the guns were purchased "for use by the Provisional Irish Republican Army." He did not mention that the jury rejected the IRA connection charge. Admitting that fact collapses the bridge that gun control groups are deceitfully attempting to build between gun shows and terrorists. Fraudulent attempts to further restrict the rights of the law-abiding must be challenged. The National Rifle Association will continue to pursue freedom and the objectives of our bylaws, "to promote public safety, law and order and the national defense." JAMES JAY BAKER Executive Director Institute for Legislative Action National Rifle Association Fairfax • It is no surprise to see more and more prominent people hijacking the hijackings. Immediately after the terrorist acts, Jerry Falwell suggested that we could avoid terrorism by banning abortion. Now comes a piece by former Clinton prosecutor Eric Holder arguing for more gun control. In fact, international terrorists of late have used just about every weapon except the gun -- box cutters and commercial aircraft, sarin and cyanide gases, bacteria and bombs delivered by cars, trucks and boats. The only two examples that Mr. Holder cited as instances of terrorists acquiring guns in the United States were thwarted by the use of effective, existing law enforcement tools. Mr. Holder does us a disservice to offer an artificial sense of security from terrorists by tightening restrictions on weapons that, apparently, have fallen into disuse by modern international terrorists. In the end, we should let gun control pass or fail on its own merits. We should be wary of those who attempt to capitalize on a tragic event to pursue unrelated agendas. DARIN R. BARTRAM Kensington
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