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Popularity of Guns in U.S.

April 15, 2001

* Re "Armed and Potentially Dangerous," April 11: Having read that most Americans feel safer with a handgun, I have a question: Would I then be safer if allowed to carry a handgun on board an airline flight? Certainly not. Why? Because I'm assured, just as in most other civilized countries, that nobody else has one to use on me.

And so, contrary to those who profit from promoting a Wild West environment, I suggest we focus on reducing the cause of danger--rather than increasing it.

J.B. THOMAS

Arroyo Grande

* Kudos to staff writer Stephanie Simon for her fair and honest reporting about firearms ownership. I was pleasantly surprised to find The Times reported both sides of the issue quite nicely and even mentioned the usually never mentioned works of Gary Kleck and the experiences from Kennesaw, Ga., which present a different perspective from your usual position.

MICHAEL L. FRIEDMAN

Torrance

* Your article proves that parents who are dependent on their guns will risk any cost, including the lives of their children, to keep them. The police officer who taught his young children not to touch his readily available gun has made a choice in which the chances of a family tragedy are much greater than any outside threat.

It's fantasy to believe that children are ever safe around guns. Respected studies have proved that a child's curiosity, intrigue and aggressive behavior with guns are not at all lessened by training or parental admonitions.

Sadly, frightened people fall victim to the NRA mantras of "armed self-protection" and "guns don't kill people, people do." The fact is, it's people with guns who kill people--mostly friends and relatives--and all the paranoid rationalizing in the world won't change that.

ALLAN RABINOWITZ

Los Angeles

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