1991.10.11: Reply to WCBS Newsradio 88 editorial “Better Guns for the Good Guys”

Reply to WCBS Newsradio 88 editorial “Better Guns for the Good Guys,” October 9, 1991, 91-45
By Michael Z. Letwin, President, The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys

Although New York streets are violent, NYPD officers have rarely lacked sufficient firepower to defend themselves.

Moreover, there’s no easy fix: more heavily armed police in other American cities have failed to stem rising crime and violence, which have their roots in deepening inner-city poverty and the “war on drugs” policy.

These realities lead impoverished drug abusers to commit crimes that support their habit, while — as during prohibition unemployed youth fight bloody turf wars to control the lucrative illegal drug trade.

Providing officers guns with hair triggers, heavy caliber and lots of ammunition — such as the NYPD’s 9 mm Glock threatens only to escalate indiscriminate police violence against our citizens, particularly African Americans and Latinos.

Genuine safety lies not in arming police with heavier weapons, but in providing drug treatment on demand, in adopting a sane drug policy, and in restoring the decaying libraries, schools and hospitals that alone can provide hope for a better future.

—October 11, 1991


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