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January 17, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Protecting American children from gun violence after Sandy Hook

Gun restrictions will protect innocents

Another day, another school shooting [“Student wounds official, self at St. Louis school,”, Jan. 15] and yet I also see “Obama’s sweeping proposal to broadly target all kinds of gun violence,” [page one, Jan. 16] in your newspaper.

Assault is illegal, so why are assault weapons not? Guns of war — with capacity to shoot so many people so fast that no one has a chance of escape or to defend themselves — have no place on our streets.

We must ban assault weapons and the ability of guns to shoot so many rounds now, in memory of those beautiful children who lost their lives in a first-grade classroom, and all the others who lost their futures to gun violence.

I think those who passed the Second Amendment would be horrified to see how it has been used to justify weapons of war that are claiming the lives of so many of our children that gun violence is contributing to a shorter life expectancy for young people in this country.

--Betty Williams, Seattle

Schools lack structural protection

Our hearts go out to all of those relatives and friends of the Sandy Hook victims such as Alexis Haller and family of Woodinville [“Woodinville uncle seeks changes to protect children,” NWWednesday, Jan. 16]. We are, however, not helpless. Reasonable, inexpensive changes can be made in facilities, procedures and law to help prevent similar tragedies.

An example: Frequently, as a substitute teacher, I was not issued keys to the classroom door when I reported for work; it was unlocked by an administrator or custodian. With the key required to lock it, it provided no security. Since fire codes require doors to open out, there is little possibility to barricade it against an intruder.

I have on several occasions mentioned the problem to the building secretary (frequently the most “senior” school official a substitute is in contact with). On one or two occasions, I have written letters to administrators indicating that I would not work there until I was issued a key so that I have the possibility of providing safety for my students. (Even if I’m only there for a day, they are my students).

Absent a key, installation of deadbolt locks on the interior of the door would provide some amount of quick emergency security.

--Richard Reuther, Richland

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