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Letters: A Reader Responds

Quote on weapons ban misused

Once again, John R. Lott Jr. lifts out of context my quote on an assault-weapons ban ("There's no evidence that banning guns cuts crime," May 25). To correct the record, the Violence Policy Center has not changed its position one whit on the need for a ban since the last time Lott misrepresented our position on your op-ed pages, Sept. 26, 2006. Our letter to Lott's distortion then (Oct. 3, 2006) is just as appropriate today:

"The Violence Policy Center has long advocated for an effective assault-weapons ban. The key word is


. The point of my statement . . . was that the former federal assault-weapons law was so riddled with loopholes, so easily evaded by the gun industry, and so poorly enforced by the Clinton and Bush administrations, that it was useless. That is not at all to say that an assault-weapons ban with teeth is not needed.

"On the contrary, we need an assault-weapons ban that the gun industry cannot evade and that the U.S. attorney general must enforce. Until we have such a law, America's law-enforcement officers will continue to be gunned down by assault weapons in staggering numbers, and the streets of every town in America will continue to be terrorized by these killing machines in the hands of gang members, family annihilators, drug traffickers, and every two-bit misfit with a beef at home, school, office, shopping center, athletic field, or place of worship."

It's pathetic that Lott continues to recycle such misrepresentations of our position. Has he no sense of decency?

Tom Diaz

Senior policy analyst

Violence Policy Center