We live in a conflictive and confused society. In his opinion, Blaine Nay startles us by stating that Congress is considering three anti-gun bills (Readers' Forum, May 21), while on the facing page, Walter Williams in his column wisely enforces the idea that further gun-control laws will accomplish nothing, citing a recent Philadelphia debacle.

On another page we read that at the border near Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, police have abandoned a city because drug gangs have taken over.

In each edition of the Deseret News, we read of more shootings in Utah.

As to Mexico, I ask, how is that chaos possible in a nation that has the most stringent gun-control laws? In my five years living in Mexico, I have seen individuals lose guns to the Army (1961), hide guns in secret compartments of their vehicles (1978-80) and, more recently, have every inch of their vehicles inspected inside and out at every state line. We have read how violations of gun laws in Mexico by honest but naive American citizens can lead to years in prison because these laws are strictly enforced.

But the criminals will always have weapons. And that occurs currently because of corrupt officials. When citizens are powerless to defend themselves, a violent society exists.

This weekend I talked to a man from Switzerland and asked him if it is still the case that every home in that nation has a weapon. He answered "yes." There, it is an obligation that each man be prepared for national security (a homeland militia) by maintaining a rifle or pistol in his home. Yet Switzerland has one of the lowest rates of violence of any Western nation. He also told me that immigration is restricted, but they do allow married Italian men to enter Switzerland to work as long as their wives and children remain in Italy. This reduces that tiny country's migrant problems.

As a society, we need to make sure our youths act civilly, that we not allow anger to lead to violence and that we not lose our right to bear arms as guaranteed by our Constitution.


Lon Pearson is a professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a visiting researcher at Brigham Young University.