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'Trying to End a Love Affair'

May 22, 1985

Just as I was beginning to believe that your editorial writers had suppressed their anti-gun fanaticism in pursuit of more creative journalistic endeavors, I abandoned all hope when I read your editorial (April 28), "Trying to End a Love Affair."

Your generalization that a majority of Americans want gun control certainly cannot be validated by the defeat of Proposition 15 by an overwhelming majority of California voters in 1982, and the lack of enthusiasm that gun control proposals have been met with from residents of other states.

I can only attribute that statement to the perennial problem that your editorial department has of confusing its opinion and that of the majority of Americans as being the same. Your condescending statement that nobody needs a semi-automatic weapon leaves me in a quandary. How did the opinion brokers of your paper acquire such divine omniscience as to enable them to dictate the needs of an entire population? Apparently such gifts of insight elude the rest of us.

Semi-automatic weapons constitute a vast array of sporting, target and military rifles, pistols and shotguns. People have been purchasing them since the turn of the century because they perceive a need for them, and that need does not require justification to the press to be valid.

Another inaccuracy is your statement that semi-automatic weapons are easily converted to fully automatic. The majority of these weapons can be converted, but not easily enough to make the conversion practical for individual owners. The weapons that are easily converted usually end up being proscribed by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, should such problems arise with them.

Your editorial did make one accurate statement. Americans do have a love affair with firearms. It is part of the American historical, cultural and national consciousness, and all of the anti-gun editorials ad nauseam won't change that.

JONATHAN LAZARUS

La Habra

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