To the Editor: The implications of Dr Sherman's
Editorial,1 which discusses a "quasi-experimental"
study of gun violence in Colombia, are extremely disturbing. Villaveces and
colleagues2 describe police tactics that
include traffic stops, checkpoints, inspection of bars and clubs, and searching
of patrons at police discretion. Sherman notes that "although the intervention
described . . . may seem highly intrusive, the measured level of intervention
was actually quite low by US standards." Such "police state" tactics do not
seem "quite low" to those who value our constitutional liberties. Sherman
also notes that the effectiveness of gun law enforcement may be limited by
"those states allowing people with felony arrests but not convictions to carry
concealed weapons, despite the evidence of their increased risk for violent
and gun-related crimes." It is a fundamental principle of US jurisprudence
that citizens' rights are lost on conviction for a crime, not on being accused.
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