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Children with guns

A short article touches a nerve with readers.

May 04, 2013
  • A home in Cumberland County, Ky., seen above, is where a 2-year-old girl was shot by her 5-year-old brother with a gun designed for children.
A home in Cumberland County, Ky., seen above, is where a 2-year-old girl… (Dylan Lovan / Associated…)

It's not often that an article appearing deep inside the paper touches a nerve with readers. But the story of a 2-year-old Kentucky toddler accidentally shot and killed by her 5-year-old brother with a rifle he received as a gift drew nearly a dozen letters, a sizable haul for a short article appearing on Page A-13 of Thursday's Times.

Reader Lynn Segal of Woodland Hills, whose letter was published Friday, objected to the article being "relegated" to inside the paper, arguing that "firearms responsibility is one of the top issues of our time." Several others whose responses weren't published Friday raised different points; one took issue with Segal's letter.

Here is a selection of those letters.

—Paul Thornton, letters editor

Ted Clark of Santa Clarita says the issue isn't firearms responsibility:

"Personal responsibility, not firearms responsibility, is one of the top issues of our time. The Kentucky parents responsible for leaving a firearm available to their 5-year-old son paid the ultimate price for their thoughtless act. If the loss of their 2-year-old daughter is not their fault, then who is at fault?

"If we believe American society is at fault and we can legislate away all things potentially harmful to our children, then maybe we should give the government control of our reproductive rights so thoughtless people don't become parents and endanger children. Only those of us who can pass a reasonable government test can gain parent permits and go on to become perfect parents.

"Just kidding. Let's put responsibility on the individual, where it belongs."

Sherman Oaks resident Judi Birnberg calls for sanity on guns:

"Many articles in the paper shock and sadden me every day, but few hit me as hard as the one detailing the killing of a Kentucky toddler by her brother, who shot her accidentally with a 'kiddie rifle.'

"I did not know such a heinous item existed. Who in their right mind could think up such a thing? I don't care how small or attractively painted these guns are, they are lethal. Beyond the inventors and manufacturers of rifles for little children, what parents could think this is an appropriate gift for a small child?

"I fear that sanity about guns will never prevail in this country. If the Newtown, Conn., massacre didn't do it, if the insanity of making lethal rifles for little children doesn't do it, and if our 'representatives' continue to represent only their own interest in being reelected, what hope is there?"

Gayle Weiner of Malibu discussed toys and child safety:

"When I wanted to create a stuffed toy product for my business, I was given rules. I had to go to a laboratory for a series of tests that would assure safety of a soft toy when handled by a child. I could use only a safe dye that would not sicken or kill the child; there couldn't be any removable parts liable to cause a child to choke.

Yet real guns are allowed to be manufactured and procured for children by adults, allowing lethal situations to


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