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Guns: Pursue Gangsters, Pressure Politicians

LETTERS TO THE TIMES

February 11, 2003

Re "Gun Lobby's Perfect Aim," Opinion, Feb. 9: I can understand Jennifer Price's anguish over the loss of her brother. Two friends of mine have been murdered, one with a handgun.

However, arguing that handguns should be banned outright will not lead to a solution. Although people who shoot others may have obtained their handguns legally, habitual criminals are unlikely to be deterred by mere laws; by definition, they are outlaws. People who buy handguns, by and large, do so for legitimate reasons (e.g., protection), just as people who buy cars do. Either may commit mayhem with these objects, and we are powerless to prevent it.

The more draconian the laws become, the more sane, peaceful people will be motivated to break them, and the laws will sink into irrelevancy. The police and the courts could make life a lot safer by going after gangsters more aggressively and punishing them more severely. Forget about prostitutes, vagrants and marijuana users: Go after the real threats!

James V. Halloran III

Redondo Beach

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Price is right on target. The very idea that our state law forbidding purchasing more than one handgun a month represents "tough" gun control is ludicrous and insulting to thinking California voters. It means that each year one legally could assemble an arsenal of 12 handguns. Can we as voting citizens justify that amount of firepower in the name of "self-defense"?

How long are we going to tolerate having 17 innocent people murdered with guns just here in L.A. County every week, as Price reports the current rate of killing to be, just to protect gun manufacturers' profits? The answer has to lie in aroused citizen action at the polling place. We've got to make National Rifle Assn. endorsements more of a political kiss of death than a sought-after advantage.

Horace E. Sheldon

Los Angeles

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Price takes the position that it was the gun who killed her brother and prospective sister-in-law and not the woman. How skewed is this view? I have owned a gun similar to the one she describes, and I have never killed anyone. Guns don't kill people, people do!

If this woman had no means to purchase a weapon, are we to assume that she would not have accomplished her task of killing these people in some other fashion? Perhaps if her brother owned a gun, he could have protected himself from this cold-blooded killer, and killed her first. More gun control is not the solution. Stricter gun control laws lead to more crime.

Aron Davidsohn

Los Angeles

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Re "A Whistle-Blower Who Has the Gun Industry in His Sights," Feb. 7: Steve Lopez's column about gun manufacturers comes as no great surprise. While guns in the hands of gangbangers terrorize many parts of L.A., groups such as the NRA, led by Charlton Heston, advocate the "rights" of gun ownership under a misguided interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. What right, may I ask?

Is that right misused? You bet. And the NRA must surely know about the tragedy that comes from such "rightful" ownership, legal or otherwise.

Dale A. Page

Granada Hills

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