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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

August 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM

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Guns at town halls: Are protesters acting within their rights?

Posted by Letters editor

Civilized debates come without guns

David Sirota echoes ["First Amendment trumps Second Amendment," Opinion, syndicated columnist, Aug. 23] my personal alarm concerning the guns appearing at public meetings.

His Thomas Jefferson quote about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants -- that makes my blood run cold.

This madness has got to stop. There are means for civilized people to solve problems, and guns are not among them.

-- Mary S. Mitchell, Seattle

Firearms demonstrators well within their rights

David Sirota, thank you for telling the truth.

And the truth is you and your elitist colleagues hide behind your First Amendment rights to attack our Second Amendment rights. Just remember, as Thomas Jefferson said, "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

Law-abiding gun owners are fed up with elitists like you who think they are above all others and use their positions to spread fear and disinformation to attack our Second Amendment rights. In fact, the publishing of arrogant and ignorant statements such as yours are the reason these protesters are carrying firearms.

While I don't necessarily agree with protesters carrying firearms at demonstrations, I understand why they are doing it, and I support their right to do so. It was journalists like you who fired the first shot by attacking our rights. It was politicians like Janet Napolitano, who as the head of the Department of Homeland Security disseminated an official report labeling supporters of the Second Amendment as "potential right-wing extremists/domestic terrorists."

How many attacks do you think a person will tolerate before he or she starts fighting back? These people are making a statement that they are not going to take it any more. Instead of continuing your mindless attacks on our rights, why don't you just start realizing there are people out there that do not have the same opinion as you, and their rights matter just as much as your rights.

I was both surprised and extremely pleased to see President Obama say these people are within their rights. He recognizes and understands why these people are making their statement in such a bold manner.

Obama is displaying a level head by not escalating this further. You, on the other hand, are trying to incite a riot.

-- Neil Foster, Renton

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