As a result of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the administration is reviewing ways to curb such violence.

A major focus of this review has been on gun control. It is instructive to note that during the period from 1990 to 2010 the violent crime rate in the U.S. as reported by the FBI decreased by nearly 50 percent, while at the same time the number of weapons sold, background checks performed and concealed carry permits issued by states have all increased significantly.

Does increased legal gun availability lead to increased violent crime? The statistics say no, and possibly, it may have contributed to the decline. The violent crime rate for legal gun owners? Essentially zero.

For those who believe additional gun regulations are needed, several questions need to be honestly addressed before further restrictions are considered.

First, how will any new regulations assist in disarming criminals? Obviously, the problem is not with legal gun owners. Second, how will they prevent those with criminal intent from illegally obtaining weapons?

Third, how will the security of lawful citizens be preserved by reducing or eliminating gun availability? It is a fact that violent crime increases in countries which have banned or severely restricted civilian access to firearms (Australia and the United Kingdom, among others).

Fourth, since the vast majority of mass murders have been committed by mentally unstable individuals, will medical records for such persons become readily available as part of any background check process?

Fifth, will the wealthy and influential be allowed armed protection, either personally or by protective service, if severe restrictions are considered? If so, the restriction of firearms to citizens of lesser means then becomes a deadly discrimination, by denial of self defense to some while permitting it to others.

This time let’s have an honest discussion, while ensuring that the legal rights granted by the Constitution are preserved, and historical facts are not ignored.

A. F. Endler