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A California gun measure; U.S. energy policy; marketing the Lap-Band to teenagers

May 30, 2011

Controlling guns

Re "Gun control that won't," Opinion, May 24

There is something the matter with the whole discussion of gun control. The current effort by the gun lobby is targeted (pun intended) at having everyone carry a gun. There is no reason, in a country where the violent crime rate has fallen every year for the last 10 years, for weapons to be carried, openly or concealed. Who is supposed to benefit, and how?

The answer is clear: The benefit goes to the gun manufacturers, who have a problem selling guns. Most women don't want to own one, and men's old guns just never wear out.

For those of us who believe that guns are intimidating and are used as a threat to free speech and our peace of mind, we will keep working for sensible gun laws that require guns to be kept safely stored at home.

Ann Reiss Lane

Los Angeles

The writer is chair emeritus of Women Against Gun Violence.

Adam Winkler is concerned that AB 144 (the ban on "open carry" of guns) would inadvertently lead to an increase in concealed weapons permits. He is freaked out by the idea that he could be "surrounded by people with hidden, possibly loaded guns every time you go out in the street."

Apparently, those citizens in the 37 states having shall-issue concealed gun laws feel quite secure being surrounded by armed, law-abiding folks.

Michael L. Friedman

Torrance

UCLA law professor Winkler makes the point that the unintended consequence of banning the open carry of firearms might be an increase in permits for concealed weapons, and that that is the goal of gun-rights activists: "Gun owners would much prefer to conceal their firearms when out on the town."

What if Winkler's premise is incorrect? What if these open-carry folks are trying to make guns a more normative part of society? Perhaps they are trying to say that guns are OK in restaurants, markets, shopping malls, universities and elsewhere.

Let's not take that chance. AB 144 should be passed.

Roberta Schiller

Los Angeles

A sensible energy policy

Re " 'Drill, baby, drill' won't do it," Editorial, May 24

Increased production won't achieve energy independence, but it will lead to greater energy security. Tomorrow's economy will require wiser use of energy from all sources, including renewables. Dismissals of future energy initiatives as ineffective responses to outcries over fuel prices are like rapping disease research because it won't lead to immediate cures. "Drill, baby, drill" may not be the answer, but neither is "What's the point?"

Recent legislation to eliminate the oil depletion allowance would've added nothing to the U.S. Treasury because the targeted companies don't qualify for that provision. Also, ethanol credits weren't in the legislation. That leaves the other provisions, which, as you state, "are in keeping with the deductions all businesses are allowed."

Our industry contributes an average of

$87 million a day to the federal government. With their 41% effective tax rate, higher than for most businesses, oil companies pay more than their fair share.

Erik Milito

Washington

The writer is upstream director at the American Petroleum Institute.

While drilling won't do it, I'm not sure most Americans are financially broke enough, or scared enough of dangerous oil spills, Mideast revolutions or even talk from the friendly Canadians about possibly selling their oil to China or India, to really consider "Conserve, baby, conserve."

We will get to a time when we use far less oil than we do now. The question is whether we do it as a result of conservation and alternative energy planning that ideally should have started decades ago, or at the point of a knife or a gun represented by oil prices far higher than they are now and supplies that are far less reliable.

At least for the near future, the choice is still ours to make. Can we say, "Courage, baby, courage"?

Mary Stanik

Minneapolis

Israel is the democracy

Re "Israel's settlement liability," Opinion, May 25

While I disagree with almost everything Dan Simon writes, I was floored by the particular statement that for Israel, a "respectful solution to the Palestinian problem would go a long way toward convincing the country's neighbors that it values democracy and justice."

Is he serious in proposing that Israel — the only true democracy in the Middle East, the only place where women are treated as equals in the Middle East, the only country where all religions are tolerated in the Middle East and where Arabs have more rights than they do in their own countries — needs to prove that it values democracy and justice to Egypt, Syria, Iran and Lebanon? Really?

Israel may not be perfect, but the idea that it has to prove to these regimes that it values democracy and justice is beyond absurd.

Jeremy Haft

Sherman Oaks

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