Quotes need to back up article
It should go without saying that journalistic integrity should be of the utmost importance to a newspaper. Whether or not you have a circulation of more than 100,000 papers or leave them on the corner of university walkways, blatant disregard for facts should not be tolerated. While it is commendable that the author in yesterday's article "Congress reviews Senate bill allowing guns on trains" was trying to portray both the pros and cons of a heated and passionate gun control debate, publishing quotes that have zero backing whatsoever should not be the policy of The Daily Targum.The writer quotes a student who is a native of France, and has clearly never studied or even read a morsel of literature about gun control laws. The student makes two ridiculous claims, both of which the Targum decided to publish. The first is that European Nations do not allow their citizens to bear arms, thus constituting a lower "crime" rate; and the second that the majority of crimes in the United States are because of guns.In a 2006 study, two prominent Harvard criminologists, Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser, found that European nations with stringent anti-gun policies had substantially higher murder rates than those nations with less stringent policies. According to the study, Norway, which has the highest rate of gun ownership in Western Europe, possesses the lowest murder rate. In contrast, Holland's murder rate is nearly the worst, despite the lowest gun ownership rate in Western Europe.These simple facts, solely about European gun ownership, circumvent the common liberal mantra that more guns equal more crime. In fact, it is quite the contrary. Russia, which essentially bans all private gun ownership, has a murder rate four times higher than that of the United States. Within the United States alone, the 31 states that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons have on average 24 percent lower violent crime rates than those states that have banned concealed weapons licenses.Furthermore, the claim that guns are used in the majority of crimes in the United States is absurd. According to the Department of Justice, less than 9 percent of violent crimes are committed with a gun, and most of those 9 percent of guns were purchased illegally. In fact, history proves that less stringent gun laws translate into less crime.The war against guns is an unjust war that perpetuates crime and only disarms the victim. Instead of the government frightening the general public about firearms, they should be teaching gun safety and proper usage. Congress approving a bill that will allow guns on trains will not only be a victory for gun rights and the Constitution, but for passengers who can now rest peacefully knowing that criminals are not the only ones with weapons on board. Aaron I. Marcus is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in political science and history. He is also the co-founder of the New Jersey political blog www.livingjersey.wordpress.com.