Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) spoke about… (Michael Reynolds / EPA )
Re "An NRA victory," Opinion, July 25
At frequent intervals for far too many years, we have had horrors such as what happened in the movie theater in Colorado last week. How many more such events must happen before there is at least some kind of effective gun control?
When our Constitution and Bill of Rights were written, there were no such things as multi-shot automatic and semiautomatic weapons. Firearms were single-shot,
muzzle-loading weapons such as the smooth-bore musket, which was the main military weapon up through the Civil War. Rifles and pistols were also muzzle-loading single-shot weapons.
Multi-shot weapons such as assault rifles have no place in civilian hands. They are not weapons for hunting wild animals and birds; they are only for killing people and should be restricted to our military and police.
Our leaders in both parties have been bought off by the National Rifle Assn. and gun makers. Politicians who take money and advice from the gun lobby have blood on their hands.
Samuel A Schiffman
In 1946, my father bought me a .22-caliber bolt-action rifle for my 13th birthday. We lived in Riverside, Ill., at the time. I used the gun for target practice at the local grammar school, which had a target range in the basement that was managed by the police department.
I walked the half-mile or so from our home to the school carrying the rifle slung over my shoulder. Riverside is a suburb of Chicago on the southwest side, maybe 12 miles from the Loop, with a population then of about 7,800. No one paid any attention to me. Today this would trigger a SWAT response.
I don't think we have a gun problem. What we have is a society that is disintegrating before our eyes.
I grew up in the Soviet Union, where the ban on the possession of assault weapons and handguns by private citizens was absolute. It was unimaginable that such lethal stuff might appear on the shelves of retail stores.
Bad regime? Yes. Evil empire? Yes.
But get this: Over the 40 years of my life there, I never heard of a single shooting rampage at a school, movie theater or workplace.
When I lived there, it never occurred to me that such horrific events were possible. This isn't to suggest that the United States should adopt anything resembling the Soviet Union's totalitarian system. But whenever I hear people say that banning guns wouldn't be effective, I think how wrong they are.
Doyle McManus cries that today, no "reasonable" gun-control measures stand a chance in Congress. Existing restrictions have done little to curb firearms violence.
Sure, the tragedy in Colorado might have been prevented if the government overturned the 2nd Amendment and confiscated all guns. Perhaps that's what the NRA haters really want.
Our Constitution is a living document. Slaves were freed and given the right to vote, and women were given the right to vote. It's time to change the 2nd Amendment. Whatever the founders had in mind was good for their time. Our time is the 21st century. The British and the Indians are not a threat. Owning a multi-shot assault rifle should not be a constitutional right.