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Letter to the Editor: Just the facts

In a June 14 Letter to the Editor, the writer expressed concern over State Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen's support of the Castle Doctrine. The statement was, "in states that have such laws, we have seen a 300 percent increase in deaths due to that law."

No source for that information was provided, and I could find no such report.

I checked the FBI's website, which provides crime statistics submitted by 17,000 law enforcement agencies across the country. The FBI cautions these statistics only reflect the number of crimes reported. It states there are many factors that affect the number of crimes; i.e., increase or decrease in population density, economic conditions, poverty level, job availability, youth population, increased gang activity, and many more.

The FBI's Unified Crime Report for the 5-year period of 2006-2010 reflected overall murder and non-negligent manslaughter rates in the U.S. per 100,000 population decreased by about 17.4 percent. During that period there were about 24 states that had a variation of the Castle Doctrine. The FBI's estimate for 2011 is another 1.9 percent drop. If there was any increase in murder in the Castle Doctrine states, it most likely was very minor and may have been due to other factors, as well.

The purchase of guns for self-defense and sport has soared in the past three and a half years. This spring, Ruger actually quit taking orders for three months so they could catch up with a backlog of orders. Since the number of guns is increasing and murder rates are declining, my guess is guns are not the problem. Note: a large percentage of murders are by 'other than guns' (knives, blunt objects, hands, etc.).

There is much misinformation out there, be it from TV, radio, newspapers, emails, or word of mouth. It is always best to seek a variety of news sources and always look up official records.

Facts matter.