Source: Atlanta Constitution
Source type: newspaper
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “One Lesson from the Assassination of President McKinley”
Author(s): Hunnicutt, W. L. C.
City of publication: Atlanta, Georgia
Date of publication: 16 September 1901
Volume number: 34
Issue number: none
|Hunnicutt, W. L. C. “One Lesson from the Assassination of President McKinley.” Atlanta Constitution 16 Sept. 1901 v34: p. 6.|
|McKinley assassination (personal response); crime (dealing with); gun control.|
|W. L. C. Hunnicutt.|
One Lesson from the Assassination of President McKinley
Editor Constitution: The firing
of the pistol which took the life of the president of the United States has
shocked the civilized world, and brings prominently to notice a dastardly weapon
which has for more than half a century been the disgrace of the civil life and
jurisprudence of the American people.
In the days when the American Indians had no firearms and when bears roved in numbers through the land, a man might have defended himself with a pistol, which could be much more conveniently carried than a longer gun. But those days have passed, never to return. No man can now defend himself with a pistol. It is almost solely the instrument of the murderer and assassin. When it kills, it kills the wrong man. The having a pistol on one’s self is so far from being a defense that it constitutes a strong presumptive justification of one’s slayer. He who conceals an engine of death to others on his person thereby makes himself virtually an outlaw. When the man accused of murder can prove that his victim was carrying or was accustomed to carry a pistol, he is never convicted.
The laws against carrying concealed weapons are almost wholly futile, since there is no adequate provision for their enforcement. They practically work great injustice by putting those who obey the law at the mercy of those who disobey it.
If pistols were abolished so that no man could have one, then no honorable man would want one. At least seven-tenths of all murders in this country would be avoided if pistols were abolished. The right to bear arms does not imply the right to carry a pistol. The law may prohibit shortness as well as concealment, and can be enforced only by making the shortest lawful gun too long to be concealed on one’s person—say, 3 feet long.
Every American citizen is interested in this question and owes it to himself and to his country to use his influence to have this enemy of peace and life driven out of existence. Surely there is power enough in the states of the union to abolish utterly and forever a thing which is not needed, which does so much harm and so little good as the pistol. Even the evils arising from the accidental discharge of pistols far overbalance any good they may be supposed to do.
W. L. C. HUNNICUTT.