A somewhat decent letter, despite some glaring errors. For one thing, no 'permit' should be required to exercise a Constitutionally secured right. And, the only "proof" that is necessary, is that of being one of the "People" of the United States. Which is the only 'permission' required in order to keep and bear arms on every square inch of territory in the United States. As the Constitution of the United States IS the "Supreme Law of the Land". And every city, town, village and state is BOUND by that instrument. And all 'laws' enacted by any American governmental body must be made in conformance with the "Supreme Law" without exception. And that is the actual facts of the matter. Despite all of the perverse legal precedence corruptly applied. For legal precedence is absolutely meaningless in the face of the "Supreme Law of the land".Sullivan Law Revision
Agreement for Reasonable Regulation as to the
Possession and Use of FirearmsTo The Editor of The Tribune.
Sir: After reading William T. Hornaday's excellent letter on the so-called Sullivan Law may I as an American citizen whose ancestors knew this country in pioneer days, offer a few facts and thoughts for consideration?
It was the opinion of many, including myself, that the Sullivan law was an ill-advised measure if protection of the general public was intended as the end. If that was the intent, the number of crimes committed with the pistol since with the pistol since its enactment are all the practical proof necessary that ?t did not serve the purpose for which it was passed.
It violates the constitutional rights of citizens to have and bear arms for legitimate purposes, and within the limits of the State of New York it makes a criminal of every man, woman or boy who cares for the sport of shooting or who is red-blooded enough to resist personal violence and robbery a the hands of the thug.
It takes from the responsible, law abiding citizen the effective weapon for protection of self, family and property. A half-dozen men unarmed by the Sullivan law are absolutely helpless, no matter how much desire they may have to resist a thug.
If citizens, instead of having obstacles placed in the way of their even buying a revolver, were permitted to exercise their fundamental right to protect themselves if they care to, or were even encouraged to become familiar with the use of the hand gun, is it conceivable that so many acts of violence would be committed successfully and the criminal get away safely?
It has been my observation that those who are thoroughly familiar with firearms are not "gun toters," even if they do have a predilection for shooting at times, or taking a gun with them on occasion, when experience or judgment of conditions make it a precaution for personal safety.
There is an organization known the National Rifle Association and also a National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice. The one is an association of riflemen, the other is under the direction of the War Department to promote and improve small arms practice. There is an official director of civilian marksmanship. Included in this training in small arms are the revolver and pistol: and yet in New York State a man, unless he is speaking to a fellow sportsman, hardly dare say ''I own a revolver," without fear of personal annoyance.
If only marksmanship were the consideration, the Sullivan law should be repealed or amended.
A law embodying reasonable regulation and safeguards would accomplish more practical good than a sweeping repressive measure. In a law of this character let the rights and privileges of the body of the population be recognized, but also carry a heavy penalty for the fractional per cent part of the population that are outlaws.
Let permits be granted under such a law, and let them be perpetual, revokable for cause only. Why should it be necessary for an individual with an established reputation as to character and qualifications, etc., to make out a new application every year? Let possession and use be made contingent upon bone fide citizenship and national loyalty; proof of good character sobriety; age--no individual under say sixteen or eighteen, to be permitted to use them, except, when coached by and in the presence of an elder, qualified to do so.
There is more could be said of a law which would assist the National Rifle Association of America in its efforts to train the population to shoot and to keep it familiar with arms, as a national asset in time of war; for, whatever may be said to the contrary, I think I will be borne out by experienced men in saying that proficiency in shooting cannot be developed in few months in those who have been really ignorant of firearms.
FORRY R. GETZ.
New York, Dec. 12, 1921.[New-York Tribune, Sunday, December 18, 1921. Vol. LXXXI No. 27,426 Part II Pg. 5]