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November 18, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-11-18

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0

OPINION
Monday, November 18, 1985

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

I

Edie antichigan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Support local hand gun ban

Vol. XCVI, No. 53

* 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Yes on referendum

COGNIZANT OF its role as the
students' advocate in the face
of University bureaucracy, the
Michigan Student Assembly has
addressed its own bureaucratic
problems with its reorganization
referendum in today's and
tomorrow's LSA Student Gover-
nment elections.
Whatever success MSA has had
in recent years has largely been the
result of efforts of individual mem-
bers rather than the Assembly as a
whole. Plagued each year by the
need to train almost 90 percent of
its new members, as well as by a
sprawling and inefficient internal
committee arrangement, the
Assembly has not been able to har-
ness the talents of its represen-
tatives efficiently.
The referendum's chief proposal
is to move to a system of staggered
terms, with half of the Assembly
being elected in the fall and half in
the spring. Fall elections would be
run concurrently with LSA-SG
elections and spring elections with
Rackham Student Government
elections. Representatives not up
for reelection would be responsible
for working at the different election
sites, and the total cost of elections
would be the same as it currently
is.
In addition, the total number of
representatives would increase by
about 25 percent. Each school in
the University is currently

assigned a representative for every
1150 students enrolled in it, under
the new plan that number would
drop to 850. Each school would
retain at least one representative.
There are currently 37 positions on
the Assembly, but five seats un-
filled by the smaller schools.
The currenty highly complicated
procedure for tabulating election
results would be changed, but
voters would still need to vote
preferentially for as many as eight
representatives. Where the current
tabulation system is so arcane
that no more than a handful under-
stand it, the proposed system
would assign points to each
preferential vote and determine
winners from the total.
In addition, MSA would
reorganize its committee structure
to accommodate the various com-
mittees that have sprung up in the
last few years.
It's impossible to know precisely
how all of the measures will affect
MSA. The new tabulation system
should maximize efficiency, but
seems slightly less fair. More
representatives may cause more
confusion instead of less. And two
elections could alienate some of the
students who are already hard
pressed to give attention to MSA
once a year. Nevertheless, the
referendum is an attempt to
aproach a long-standing problem in
MSA and should be supported.

By Donald N. Duquette
and Phillis Engelbert
On October 28 an Ann Arbor Community
group, Citizens for Handgun Control,
presented a handgun ban ordinance to Ann
Arbor City Council. Councilman Jeff Epton
and several other countil members plan to
introduce the ordinance on November 18. If
there is enough public support a public
hearing will be scheduled as early as
December 2, and the ordinancescould pass
council before Christmas - as a Christmas
present to the entire city.
The ordinance, modeled after that of Mor-
ton Grove, Illinois, would ban possession
and sale of handguns within Ann Arbor city
limits. Excepted from the ban would be
peace officers and persons with federal or
state permits to carry concealed weapons
such as military personnel on duty, correc-
tions officers, security agents and a small
number of persons licensed to do so for per-
sonal safety reasons. Antique guns and guns
rendered permanently inoperable are also
exempted.
The group has recommended to council
that the ban take effect 90 days or longer af-
ter passage to give citizens owning han-
dguns and merchants selling them an oppor-
tunity to dispose of them. After the ordinan-
ce takes effect a person convicted of a
violation faces a penalty of 90 days in jail or
$100 fine and would forfeit the handgun. To
encourage handguns to be taken out of cir-
culation, the ordinance allows persons to
turn over handguns to the police
anonymously with no questions asked
although the police would be required to at-
tempt to identify the owner of the guns,
inquire of all relevant law enforcement
agencies whether such handgun is needed as
evidence and, if not, destroy them after two
years.
Why is a handgun ban being pursued in
the city? According to Ann Arbor Police
Department, in 1983 there were 66 handgun
incidents in the City of Ann Arbor, 72 in 1984,
and 65 as of October 1 of '85. They are
inherently dangerous and pose a serious
threat to public health, peace and safety.
The primary purpose of handguns is to kill
people. In 1980 handguns killed:
77 people in Japan
8 in Great Britain
24 in Switzerland
8 in Canada
Duquette and Engelbert are members
of the local chapter of Citizens for Han-
dgun Control.

23 in Israel
18 in Sweden
4 in Australia
11,522 in the United States
We want to prevent an arms escalation in
our own city.
Although handguns account for less than
20% of American firearms, they cause over
90% of gun related injuries. (Elizabeth
Peer, "Taking Aim at Handguns"
Newsweek August 2, 1982)
Many people feel that handguns provide
additional protection for themselves or their
-home. However, the facts are that rather
than enhancing the safety of the carrier,
possession of a handgun actually increases
a person's chances of harm. (U.S. Con-
ference of Mayors, "How well does the Han-
dgun Protect Your Family? (1976)) The
handgun is over 100 times more likely to be
used in a murder, suicide or fatal accident
than to kill a criminal. (FBI Justifiable
Homocide Statistics, 1981-1983) If a victim of
robbery or burglary has a gun, it is 8 times
more probably that the victim will be hurt
than if he or she has no gun. ("Guns for
Protection?" Detroit Free Press October 2,
1984, p. 12A) A handgun kept at home for
"protection" is more likely to kill a friend, a
neighbor, or a child than a criminal. For
every intruder killed by a handgun, six
homeowners or their children are killed by
accident. (Speilgler and Sweeney, Gun
Abuse in Ohio, 41 (1975) )
The handgun is rarely an effective in-
strument for protecting the home against in-
truders since most burglaries occur when
the dwelling is vacant. Homeowners who
buy their weapons for protection do not
realize that when they do so the rest of us
have greater reason for fear. Each year at
least 150,000 handguns are reported stolen
from the homes and businesses of law
abiding citizens. ( Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms, FFL Newsletter
July 1980, p. 2) By some estimates, four
times as many thefts are never reported.
(Law Enforcement Assitance Ad-
ministration, Victimization in theUnited
States: January-December, 1973 (1974))
More than half of criminally used handguns
are stolen in residential burglaries. (AFT,
FFL Newsletter, July 1980, p. 2)
The majority of handgun murders occur
among family members, friends and
acquaintances where there is a loaded gun
available. (FBI Uniform Crime Reports,
1984) Social psychologists now believe that
the mere sight of a handgun may be enough
to stimulate aggressive or violent behavior.
(Berkowitz, Psychology Today June 1981).

This "weapons effect," causing aggression
and stimulating violence, especially in
already angry people, is a key factor in
many cases of domestic violence.
Handguns are a public health hazard and
have been so identified by the Journal of the
American Medical Association (Nov. 1976).
800 to 1000 accidental deaths each year are
caused by handguns - one fourth of these
victims are children. (Accident Facts, 1984
ed. National Safety Council) In 1981 the
Surgeon General's Select Panel for
Promotion of Child Health traced the recent
"epidemic of deaths and injuries among
children and. the youth" to one source - the
handgun. The panel called for a total ban on
the sale of handguns. (Report of the Select
Panel for the Promotion of Child Health,
January 1981, p. 70).
Although the least publicized aspect of
handgun violence, handgun suicide is the
most deadly. It claims V2,000 lives each
year, which is more lives than all other
categories of handgun violence combined.
(NationalCenter for Health Statistics 1982)
The National Rifle Association and local
gun dealers and guns clubs are already put-
ting on enormous pressure on city council
members. Our surveys indicate that the
vast majority of citizens support such a
ban. However, the single-issue NRA has a
275 paid staff, an annual budget of
$30,000,000 and will work very hard to defeat
a handgun ban in Ann Arbor. Our infor-
mation indicates that the NRA is willing to
spend over $20,000 to see the ban defeated
here in Ann Arbor. If the ordinance passes,
Ann Arbor would be the largest American
city to have a ban on the sale and possession
of handguns. The NRA have just suffered a
defeat in Oak Park, Illinois where a
referendum to repeal a handgun ban was
defeated on November 6.
Morton Grove, Illinois, has set the exam-
ple for many other cities in passing its han-
dgun ban. Gun crimes were not unknown in
that community, but they were never
prevalent among its citizens. Neil Cashman
was the senior governing trustee of Morton
Grove. A law like Morton Grove's "had to
start somewhere," Cashman said later.
"Why not here?" But it wasn't to set an
example for the rest of the country that he
introduced the billthat became law. He was
simply trying to prevent Morton Grove -
and especially its younger citizens - from
developing too great a feeling for handguns.
Please help. Let council members know
how you feel about handguns. Now is the
time. Imagine a handgun ban by Christ-
mas . ..peace in our town.

Summit-up

LETTERS:
Said and done? Check the record

0

THE Reagan-Gorbachev sum-
mit meeting is clearly the most
solid and admirable attempt at
super-power communication since
Reagan was originally elected.
Although only modest gains can be
expected from the talks, perhaps
the crucial factor in the meeting it-
self.
Both Gorbachev and Reagan
have recently expressed a com-
mitment to a 50 percent reduction
in their respective nuclear ar-
senals. Discussion of land-based
missile limits and common ceilings
are important, but for now they are
details in a much larger scheme.
The most beneficial role of this
meeting is to establish some
guidelines for evaluation of our
relationship with the Soviet Union.
At the moment, the arms talks are
central in that relationship, but
should not be its exlusive focus.
It is particularly unfortunate that
Defense Secretary Weinberger has
raised objection to the Reagan-
Gorbachev meeting, since its
primary goal is to break down the
arriers between the superpowers.

This premature pessimism un-
dermines the spirit of the talks and
is indicative of our mutual in-
tolerence.
Reagan speaks of human rights
as the basis for determining
agreement and arms reduction.
Although he has progressed from
hostile condemnation to infuriated
condescension of Soviet evils'
Reagan still needs to communicate
with and show respect for Gor-
bachev.
Both Reagan and Gorbachev
must accept the differences bet-
ween Soviet ideology and United
State morality even if they can't
understand each others' position.
This is not the time to make
demands on Soviet involvement in
Afghanistan or Central America.
If the superpowers can find a
basis from which to communicate,
the huge amounts of technological
resources, intellectual energy, and
money spent on the perpetuation of
nuclear arms might instead be
channeled into human growth and
away from human destruction.

To the Daily:
Since LSA election cam-
paigning has begun students have
repeatedly asked me the same
questions. "What is LSA gover-
nment? - What is Action? -
What is Said? - What is Evita?"
Well, the fact is, Evita is not a
political party; but based on
student knowledge of LSA gover-
nment, it might as well be. The
problem is that students aren't
aware of what's going on or who
is running the show. But, once a
year they vote for Said because
they remember the name from
the previous year. And so, this
has been the tale of LSA gover-
nment over the past half decade.
That is, until now. The Action
party has mounted a campaign to
stop this cycle. We are not
criticizing what Said has done but.
we have a few questions that
havehgone unanswered in the
past. Firstly, students should not
be misled in this election. The
1985-86 Said slate contains only
three members of the '84-'85
slate. Students should not be
voting for Said because of the ac-
complishments of different in-
dividuals. There are holdovers
from the past year's slate, most
notably presidential incumbent
Michelle Tear. Tear has said
throughout the campaign that
this is an election where ex-
perience is paramount. But, how
will experience involve more
students in LSA government?
Granted, the Said party is more
experienced in this race. But, if
they can't get more involvement
from the student body then their
experience is not a factor. And
for the past five years experience
has not worked. It's time the
students got involved in decisions
that affect them. It's time to elect
someone who will give them the
incentive to take action - incen-
tive they've never been given
before.
There are many important
issues in this camnaign. The

teen council members work
towards improving conditions for
students it cannot be as suc-
cessful as if it had the visible
support of the student body.
Let us elect someone who can

involve more students in
decisions affecting students. Let
us elect people who want to
change the way students look at
LSA government. The choice is
up to you. Keep things the way

they are and remain disin-
terested or vote for a change and
vote for Action! - Steven Herz
November 17
Herz is the presidential can-
didate on the Action party.

Tear denies potential of 'New Blood'

0

To the Daily:
I am writing in to complain
about the article in Thursday's
paper about the L.S.A. gover-
nment parties competing for
election ("LSA parties compete
for topspot before elections,"
Daily, Nov. 14). At one point,
Michelle Tear was quoted as
stating, "The other candidates
haven't been involved in any kind
of student govt. You can't just
come in and take over to be ef-
ficient."
First of all, anyone who is
energetic, enthusiastic,winfor-
med, and concerned about issues
at the U. of M. and student
government should be allowed
the chance to run for a spot if they
choose to do so. Secondly, that
quote is very upsetting to the
"new blood" that is involved and
concerned. It is also depressing.
After reading that quote, new
candidates are apt to feel they
should not even bother to be con-
cerned, as others are not even
going to give them the chance to
do some good. Thirdly, how does
BLOOM COUNTY

she know what the government/
leadership backgrounds of the
"others" are? They may be in-
volved in other leadership ac-
tivities besides LSA government
(such as co-ops, fraternities,
sororities, etc.). Who is Ms. Tear
to pass judgment?
Maybe quotes like this should(
not be published. Maybe they will
dishearten good, involved, hard-

working, individuals who could
do a lot of good. I do believe
everyone is entitled to their
opinion, but please make it a
logical one. This is mine.
-Marian J. Matyn
November 14
Martin is the President of
Michigan House Co-op and an
. C. C. board representative.

Light a candle for peace

To the Daily:
November 19, 1985 is an impor-
tant day in the life of this planet.
The summit meeting between
secretary general Gorbachev and
President Ronald Reagan needs
our planetary support and
positive energy - for at stake is
drift to nuclear nightmare and
continued famines and war.
Building agreement in higher
purpose means the planet can lif-
toff into the light and leave
behind the great trail of suf-
fering!

Neighbors: let's send an un-
mistakable message to Geneva
that the people of America want
peace. Let's focus our national
purpose by joining one and all at
the center of town in an evening
vigil for peace. Or vigil in your
home with family and friends.
Light a candle for peace and
remember this country was
made by putting dreams into ac-
tion!! Think about it... What is
your conviction?
-Richard Baydin
November 10
by Berke Breathed

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