Re "'Uphill battle' begins," Jan. 17
Washington and Chicago have some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the nation, and yet they have among the highest murder rates. The 1994 assault weapons ban expired in 2004, and there has been no increase in gun violence since. Twenty years ago there were about 200 million guns in America, and now there are more than 300 million; meanwhile, gun violence and the murder rate have dropped.
We must do what we can to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. But to reduce the chances of another Columbine or Sandy Hook, we need to protect our children just as we protect our government officials, celebrities and the wealthy.
Anti-gun zealots are predictably using these tragedies to try to advance their cause. They would do better to offer real solutions.
The president's proposals to implement better gun controls are good as far as they go. They just don't go far enough.
If everything he proposed had been fully implemented before the shootings in Newtown, Conn., it would not have prevented the massacre. One reform is needed: a requirement to secure all legally owned weapons from unauthorized access.
Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza's mother legally purchased her guns. Evidently, she didn't do enough to secure those weapons so that her mentally unstable son could not access them.
Not only that, she took her unstable son to the shooting range.
We need to implement laws requiring gun owners to properly secure those weapons to prevent access or use by any person who hasn't been cleared by background checks, with severe penalties for those who fail to comply.
San Juan Capistrano
Mentally unstable males are being blamed for several recent killing sprees. But a mentally unstable person cannot go out and kill dozens of people without the aid of semiautomatic weapons. It's the guns, stupid.
People keep saying there are no easy answers to gun violence. Wrong. Australia is an excellent example of what can be done to stop mass shootings. In 1996, a lone gunman killed 35 people with semiautomatic guns. Within weeks, the Australian government was working on gun reform laws that banned assault weapons, tightened licensing procedures and financed gun buyback programs. Since the laws were enacted, there has been a reduction of gun violence.
Yes, something can be done.
The 1st Amendment has limitations; for example, you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater. If the 1st Amendment has limitations, certainly the 2nd Amendment — of lesser importance — must also have limitations. However, the National Rifle Assn. would have us believe the right to bear arms has few, if any, limitations.
Common sense seems to prevail in constitutional decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. When the exercise of a protected right may cause extreme danger, the justices use the "balancing test" and will limit the exercising of that right if necessary.
The only purpose of a handgun is to injure or kill. Shouldn't the right to own a handgun be subjected to the same balancing test?