Fighting Gunfire With…?

The billion-dollar gun industry and its lobbyists, including the NRA, have intentionally and strategically weaponized the US Constitution [“WMDs in Las Vegas,” Oct. 23]. They appropriated and perverted the Second Amendment, shaping it into a marketing tool in order to flood the country with military-grade weaponry.

They’ve gone too far. The Second Amendment is now infringing upon and undermining our other constitutionally guaranteed rights, among them the First Amendment right to peaceable assembly and the 14th Amendment rights to life and liberty.

The slaughter of US citizens is not the price of freedom; it’s the price of unregulated corporate greed and political corruption. It is the ultimate loss of freedom. We need to take our Constitution back from the gun industry.

Cara Marianna

We shouldn’t be talking about banning the sale of assault weapons; we should be talking about making the ownership of these lethal devices illegal. More than a million are already out there. Some are bound to be in the hands of Stephen Paddock copycats waiting to slaughter more innocents, and this will be followed by more vigils, condolences, hand-wringing, flowers, and candles. Too much already!

Horace Hone
west palm beach, fla.

The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Obviously, the need for a state militia has been replaced by the National Guard and Coast Guard. So the only two reasons for a citizen to own a firearm are for hunting or defense of the household from intruders. In both cases, the ownership of a handgun, shotgun, or rifle is more than adequate to satisfy these purposes. There is absolutely no need for any US civilian to own any weapon more powerful or sophisticated than these.

Accordingly, all handguns, shotguns, and rifles must be licensed and registered to the degree necessary to match the weapon to its owner at the click of a computer key. Furthermore, if we had prohibited the purchase of more sophisticated weapons, innocent victims would not have died or been harmed at shopping malls, college campuses, congressional meetings, churches, and now concerts. We as a country must deal with this issue immediately lest our society fall back to the days when everyone carried a holstered gun.

Joe Bialek

One of the most important yet overlooked factors in gun violence in America is the very existence of the detachable magazine or “clip” used in semiautomatic firearms, not merely its size. The likelihood that Americans will give up their firearms is remote in the extreme, in spite of the tragedies in Las Vegas, Orlando, etc. It seems to me that we need a different approach, one that comports with the Second Amendment yet diminishes the threat posed by firearms. I propose that firearms not have clips.

In military use, an assault rifle is capable of automatic as well as semi-automatic fire. The latter requires one pull of the trigger to fire one round; fully automatic fire is the continuous firing of one round after another as long as the trigger remains depressed and until the magazine is empty (or the weapon jams, etc.). Additionally, the conversion of almost any semiautomatic weapon to one capable of automatic fire is fairly simple, if illegal, and in most cases the instructions can be found online.

So is the solution to ban assault rifles or other weapons capable of conversion from semiautomatic to automatic fire? No, because that’s not going to happen. Rather, we should ban detachable magazines or clips, regardless of their capacity.

Semiautomatic weapons without clips are available, but they are loaded much more slowly than by simply inserting a preloaded clip. They require loading an internal magazine one round at a time with maybe five to six rounds—more than enough for any hunter’s 

By outlawing all detachable clips as well as the conversion of any firearm to accommodate a detachable clip, we get to the heart of what makes these “weapons of war.”

Stuart Kaplan
chapel hill, n.c.

When are we going to address the accelerating social and emotional fears related to the increasing number of mass shootings in our country? I, for one, am getting sick and tired of feeling threatened and asking if it’s wise to go to a movie, concert, or any other gathering, for that matter.

I would like to suggest a slight change to the phrase “Guns don’t kill, people do”: “Guns don’t kill people, bullets do.” With this reasoning in mind, it wouldn’t matter how many guns or what types of guns an individual owns, so long as the number of bullets is limited to, say, six—not per gun, mind you, but per individual (and zero for assault weapons). Similar to prescription-drug refills, “refills” for bullets would be honored, in 90-day intervals, by the number of spent shell casings returned. After all, how many bullets are needed to kill a deer? And with respect to home invasions, if an individual has more than six events within 90 days, I think we really need to take a closer look at that individual.

I have heard similar solutions proposed before, but unfortunately policy is often made by the highest bidder. If we continue to condone this, I’m afraid the next mass shooter will scale the present bar. This is something that we as a people cannot accept!

Howard Schweitzer
lake worth, fla.

Debating Violence, Peacefully

Using violence to confront violence causes fear among the undecided, who then choose “law and order” [“When Violence Comes,” Oct. 23]. Nonviolence doesn’t always succeed, but violence rarely does. We fought a bloody Civil War but still haven’t resolved our racist tendencies. Love, empathy, and respect are hard work and take time.
Timothy Bardell

This is wonderful advice for public demonstrations in blue cities, where 500 leftists are available for nonviolent response—not so much for those of us who live and work in red states, surrounded by armed extremists just waiting for the slightest excuse to gun us down in “self defense.” And yes, they are the same ones who run and work in the sheriff’s department and the court system. No protection for us there. Attempts to protect ourselves “peacefully” or even roll over in surrender only invite scorn and worse violence.

I don’t have a gun and never will. But I will not go down without fighting.

Lisa Aug