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Sniper Brings Focus Back to Gun Control

October 19, 2002

Re "House Passes Bill to Improve Gun-Buyer Background Checks," Oct. 16: President Bush cautiously states that he is not in favor of firearms "fingerprinting" because he is unsure of the technology's accuracy. His spokesman suggests that if people are determined to break laws, "how many laws can we really have to stop crime?" Yet this same president has had no problem requiring far less evidence for policies he finds politically expedient.

On strategic policy, he's convinced of the accuracy of a technologically dubious missile- defense system. On Iraq, he's convinced of the accuracy of intelligence that he uses to justify our preemptively attacking Saddam Hussein. And he despises pacifist European nations that dare ask, in effect, "How many resolutions do we really need to stop Iraq?"

Why is Bush so gun-shy when it comes to a policy that might impact domestic criminals like the Washington-area sniper? Hint: It isn't technology. It's the National Rifle Assn.

Stuart D. Tochner

Los Angeles

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I understand when people feel the need to lash out when faced with events that they cannot explain. I understand that this is the case with the sniper. However, blaming the NRA for "making guns available" is ridiculous. I am not a member of the NRA nor do I own a gun.

The fact is that the gun itself is not killing people. A rational person with the same gun would not indiscriminately kill people. Blaming the NRA for the sniper attacks is like blaming the DMV for a drunk driving-related death.

Andrew Peart

San Marcos

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I wonder how King George -- I mean, Bush -- can really believe that he can rid the world of terrorism when he can't find the sniper in his own backyard.

Carolyn M. Lee

Santa Monica

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As we watch the difficulty of finding a sniper's truck in the Washington area, we may want to consider a larger license plate with bold numbers in an area on the vehicle where it is well lighted. European license plates are much larger and easier to read. A simpler numbering system would also be helpful. As it is now, the numbers look jumbled and difficult to read when a vehicle is speeding by. The way the world has become, every safety measure should be taken.

Willa Miller

Huntington Beach

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