Re "Heston Chosen to Lead NRA Back to Mainstream," June 9:
Charlton Heston's opening remarks to a National Rifle Assn. convention that he claims to want to bring into the mainstream of America began by besmirching the reputation of the president of the U.S. by reference to still-unproven charges alleged by a man of questionable motivation, Kenneth Starr.
Perhaps Heston and Starr should both restudy the McCarthy era and the ultimate revulsion experienced by the American public at large before they speak so rashly.
* During the convention Jacob Ryker, who was shot by Kipland Kinkel before overpowering him during the Oregon shooting spree, was hailed as hero by the NRA. At no time during the speech was it mentioned that Ryker accomplished this without using a gun!
WARREN F. MOLLOY
* Re "The Same Old NRA," editorial, June 9:
All the "modest and sensible" gun control laws have already been enacted. What do you propose now as "modest and sensible"? With some 20,000 gun laws in this country, we can truly say gun control does not deter criminals.
The Mustard-Lott study covered all the counties in the U.S. The study showed that those counties where citizens can carry concealed weapons enjoy a markedly lower number of crimes than the places with the strictest gun control. Contrary to your views, more guns has meant less crime.
* How nice for The Times to be able to use its 1st Amendment rights to try to trash the 2nd Amendment.
DWIGHT MARTIN CATES
* In the past few months, we've seen too many schools where troubled youths and their beloved guns have created death and despair. And now out of the ominous gloom, we learn that Heston and his beloved guns are taking over the NRA. God help us. "Moses" surely won't.
* Wonderful! Heston in a new role as NRA's knight in shining ammo.
* The NRA is the most important civil rights organization in the country. Notwithstanding the derision and vilification to which it is regularly subjected, it continues to suggest that the 2nd Amendment may actually mean what it says, that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" by the government.
It is precisely because guns are perceived as dangerous and unnecessary by some that our 2nd Amendment rights are so important. After all, there is a lot more textual support in the Constitution for the right to keep and bear arms than there is, for example, for the right to have an abortion. If the courts can rationalize away the right to keep and bear arms, imagine what they might be willing to do, in a different political climate, with respect to rights that are not so explicitly stated.
ROBERT A. PHILIPSON