Prop. E: Views on Ballot Measure on Guns

Redondo Beach voters have a profound choice on March 7: whether to approve or reject an advisory measure urging state legislators to liberalize California's policy on issuing concealed weapons permits. I urge you to vote "no" on Proposition E.

Redondo Beach conducted a nationwide search to find a top-notch professional in Police Chief Mel Nichols, only to ignore his counsel, stating that he does not advise the more indiscriminate issuance of concealed weapons permits.

One year ago, two Palos Verdes Estates police officers were killed by a masked gunman in Torrance. One of the slain officers, Redondo resident Capt. Michael Tracy, was a South Bay Medal of Valor Award recipient.

As an Aviation High School graduate, I have an interest in preserving a "safe and sane" environment in the city of my birth. I support the city's Safer City and Safer Schools programs, but feel their concurrent goal--to reduce crime--will be severely undermined by Proposition E.

I hope as responsible voters, you will consider all of the adverse implications of Proposition E, and reject it for the sake of my family and yours.

NANCY FORREST

Redondo Beach

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Frank O'Leary's letter (Feb. 2, South Bay section) in opposition to Proposition E is another attempt to manipulate the public opinion on gun control and is based more on hysteria than on logic or fact.

Mr. O'Leary would have us believe that law-abiding citizens do not possess the intelligence, responsibility or common sense necessary to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon for personal protection. Criminals rely on the fact that citizens go unarmed to perpetrate their violent acts. Why would Mr. O'Leary and others require that we conform our behavior to the actions of such thugs?

Yes, the police do an outstanding job, but they cannot be all places at all times. Mr. O'Leary's fear of a citizen shootout stemming from a vaguely perceived threat is unfounded. Florida, for example, had a murder rate (11.4 per 100,000 citizens) that highly exceeded the national average (8.3) before the enactment of the state's concealed carry law in 1987. By 1992, Florida's murder rate (9.0) had dropped below the national average (9.3). In 1993 Florida's murder rate dropped to 8.9 per 100,000 inhabitants and the overall crime rate also dropped.

A "yes" vote on Proposition E will send a message to our elected representatives that citizens still have the intellect and wherewithal to control their own lives.

MICHAEL C. POULIOT

Redondo Beach

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I am writing to oppose Proposition E on the Redondo Beach March 7 ballot. Proposition E is an advisory measure on whether the state should make it easier to carry a concealed weapon. But this measure has very real consequences and will not make Redondo safer.

In California, local police chiefs make the decision about who should be able to carry a concealed weapon. I believe that this policy is the only way to guarantee checks and balances. Current regulations in Redondo Beach require liability insurance and range qualifications. Proposition E is silent on these very important issues.

I do not believe that it makes Redondo Beach safer if people whom I do not know are carrying guns. Can I trust them not to shoot at someone if I, or someone in my family, is standing nearby? Can I trust them to de-escalate rather than escalate a situation? Can I trust that a teen-ager or child won't find that gun in a pocket or purse and intentionally or unintentionally do harm to him / herself or someone else with it?

Widely respected studies show that guns are connected, at an alarming rate, to teen-age suicide and accidental deaths among children. According to the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young adults in the United States, after car crashes and homicides. In 1990, 1,332 youths ages 15 to 19 killed themselves with guns. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, 81% of suicide attempts with guns are successful.

Do you trust ordinary citizens to carry a concealed weapon safely? I do not. I do, however, trust the award-winning officers of the Redondo Beach police force. I have been lucky enough to go through the Redondo Beach Citizens Police Awareness Academy. In that class, I learned about the rigorous and ongoing training our officers undergo to learn in what situations to shoot a gun and in what situations to use their brains and their voices to defuse and reduce violence.

Local surveys show that Redondo Beach voters do not support this proposition. But don't sit at home on March 7 and let someone else decide this issue for you. Take a stand. Vote no on Proposition E.

VANESSA POSTER

Redondo Beach

Poster is the chairwoman of the Redondo Beach Youth Commission .

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As a member of the Redondo Beach Crime Commission, I want to add my voice to the chorus of responsible citizens who have come out against Proposition E on the March 7 ballot.

A few months ago, a similar measure was defeated in Stockton. Another measure in Fresno recently passed. But it left full authority over issuance of gun permits with the police chief, even though that city is so gang-ridden that special groups of heavily armed police officers make regular raids into gang territory.

When this issue was raised during a Charter Review Committee meeting, many people said they felt safe in Redondo Beach, but not when they have to travel to Compton, East L.A., etc. Other Proposition E proponents admitted to living outside Redondo. Why don't they ask those police chiefs for permits?

Don't be fooled. This is not a gun control issue.

On Tuesday, March 7, vote no on Proposition E.

Keep Redondo Beach safe.

CHARLES EDWARDS

Redondo Beach

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Although hype and false promises are trademarks of most political campaigns, the campaign in Redondo Beach for Proposition E, an advisory ballot measure calling for issuance of concealed weapon permits on demand, is especially misleading. Proponents claim that a vote for Proposition E will deter crime and make Redondo Beach a safer city. These claims, however, are false and the kind of electoral chicanery that makes voters cynical and apathetic. Consider the following points:

* The Proposition E campaign, even if successful, will not lead to future legislation in the city to liberalize issuance of concealed weapon permits. Only the state can pass legislation to liberalize issuance of concealed weapon permits. Any legislation by the city, through referendum, ordinance or otherwise, to change the law governing issuance of such permits would be constitutionally invalid and quickly struck down by the courts.

* Some advocates, acknowledging that Proposition E is toothless, claim that the measure will send a message to elected officials that concealed weapon permits should be given on demand. Unfortunately, the clearest message the approval of Proposition E will send is that Redondo Beach is such an unsafe, crime-ridden city that citizens must carry concealed weapons to protect themselves. This is a false message that could have disastrous consequences for Redondo Beach. Tourists will stay away. Businesses will suffer. Homeowners will see their property values fall.

* Supporters of Proposition E have stated that concealed weapon permits should be available on demand because "an armed and dangerous population" will reduce the crime rate. This is more misleading hype. The concept that a city filled with armed and dangerous people is a safer city does not make any sense. If the Proposition E proponents are correct (and they are not), then Belfast and Beirut must be models of safety.

* Advocates of Proposition E are fond of describing their horrific fears about crime to justify their perceived need for a concealed weapon permit. However, the overall crime rate in Redondo Beach, already a low-crime city, fell in 1992 and 1993. The Redondo Beach crime rate is not rapidly rising, as some Proposition E supporters would have voters believe.

Redondo Beach voters should look behind the hype and false promises and vote no on Proposition E. Let's not change Redondo's motto from "Your Place in the Sun" to "Your Place for a Gun."

KURT L. SCHMALZ

Redondo Beach

Schmalz is chairman of the Redondo Beach Crime Prevention Commission and a member of the city's Charter Review Committee.

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As a person who works with children, I know that many of them are harmed by guns each year. As someone who spent 10 years on the Redondo Beach Crime Commission, I urge all of my friends and neighbors in Redondo Beach to please get out and vote against Proposition E on Tuesday.

Our city is working hard to climb out of this recession. Does anyone really believe this would be good for business? This past weekend saw the reopening of our long-awaited pier. Does anyone think an armed citizenry is a tourist attraction?

A recent survey in a local newspaper showed Redondo Beach voters to be against the idea of relaxing municipal policy for issuing concealed weapon permits by better than 7 to 1. That's great. But if people sit on their hands and don't vote, this could pass.

Don't confuse much-needed gun safety requirements with gun control. Vote no on Proposition E for a truly safe Redondo.

PAM EDWARDS

Redondo Beach

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