To the Editor:

This is a response to the regrettably partisan, emotional editorial in the March 22 issue of The Spectrum.

I'll begin with the quote about how mostly Republicans, "have shown they are more moved by absurd, hackneyed gun-rights slogans and the threat of the National Rifle Association than by the indelible memory of 26 human beings gunned down on a sunny December morning in a quiet, peaceful community."

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

While I am politically conservative, I am not an NRA member or donor, a gun owner and have never so much as fired a firearm in my 46-plus years. I work in an urban criminal courthouse and favor a fact-based analysis before rushing to legislate.

One of the leading experts on violent crime in America is Professor John Lott. Dr. Lott has been one of the leading voices of sanity in this changed climate. A recent piece in the National Review following the Aurora, Colo. shootings clarifies many misconceptions about "gun control."

On two well-known semi-automatic "assault weapons" federally banned from 1993 to 2003, he writes, "the M&P 15 and the AK-47 are "military-style weapons."

The key word is style -- they are similar to military guns in their aesthetics, not in the way they actually operate ... the civilian version of the Ak-47 uses essentially the same sorts of bullets as deer hunting rifles, fires at the same rapidity (one bullet per pull of the trigger), and does the same damage.

On gun magazines he writes, "The common perception that so-called "assault weapons" can hold larger magazines than hunting rifles is simply wrong. Any gun that can hold a magazine can hold one of any size. A magazine, which is basically a metal box with a spring, is also trivially easy to make and virtually impossible to stop criminals from obtaining.

To reinforce the point about the ingenuity of hardcore criminals, I'd suggest you talk to any current or former corrections officer about how inmates can fashion a weapon out of pretty much anything including toilet paper and their own excrement. Seriously.

On assault weapons bans, he writes, "Even research done for the Clinton administration didn't find that the federal assault-weapons ban reduced crime ... and there are no published academic studies by economists or criminologists that find that the original federal assault-weapons ban to have reduced violent crime generally. There is no evidence that the state assault-weapons bans reduced murder or violent crimes either."

A few years back, Dr. Lott wrote about the effects of the 1974 handgun ban in the island nation of Jamaica. "Jamaica experienced large increases in murder rates since enacting handgun bans in 1974," he wrote. " Jamaica's murder rate has soared to become one of the highest rates in the world, currently at least double that of other Caribbean countries."

Feeling the love yet?

Once again from the March 22 Spectrum editorial, "We are appalled that the heavily Republican state legislation from Danbury ... has not offered bold leadership in the quest to create effective gun legislation that would respect the Second Amendment and help move the country in the direction of reduced gun violence."

Where do I start? The GOP is outnumbered by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in both chambers of Hartford, making them a virtual non-presence. The only reason why Democrats want Republicans' support for any measure -- which they don't need -- is to provide political cover for when the largely cosmetic measures passed don't reduce violence and enhance any feeling of public safety.

If leadership means eagerly signing on to feel-good legislation rammed through by the ruling party, then we don't need that kind of leadership.

Mike McLachlan, Clark Chapin and Cecilia Buck-Taylor are better representatives than most of the state has in their delegations and don't deserve this treatment.

There's plenty more to say on this issue so, if you folks want to attack me, please be my guest. I'm just getting started.

Todd Peterson

Washington Depot