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January 18, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Gun-control efforts increase in wake of Newtown tragedy

Reichert dodges issue of gun violence

When will politicians realize that pandering to the gun lobby got us into this mess in the first place? I refer to the latest example of a politician dodging the issue of gun violence found in the op-ed of U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert [“Lets work together on gun control,” Opinion, Jan. 16]. Reichert says the best way to deal with gun violence is not to limit the availability of firearms to “law-abiding citizens” but rather to hold criminals accountable and preserve “Second Amendment rights.”

The president has proposed a ban on assault weapons along with limits on high-capacity magazines [“Obama unveils plan to tighten gun laws,” page one, Jan. 17]. The reasons are obvious and do not impact on Second Amendment rights. No court, including the Supreme Court, has decided that the Second Amendment prevents restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Further, simply saying that guns should be kept out of the hands of criminals, while great political theater, solves nothing. Criminals do not identify their purpose when they buy guns. Adam Lanza got his assault weapon from his mother. If the 1994 ban on assault weapons had been re-enacted in 2004, instead of being allowed to expire, that weapon would not have been in Lanza’s home.

The president has asked us to make our voices heard in support of his proposed legislation. Let’s start with Congressman Reichert.

--Fritz Wollett, Seattle

Solutions for a divisive issue possible

Congressman Dave Reichert is correct when he says America needs to be engaged and involved at every level of our society in order to achieve the shared goal of reducing gun violence. The president is doing his part and, as the good representative explains, so is Congress. These activities are not mutually exclusive. The entire spectrum of effort is needed to make headway on the tricky, divisive issue of balancing the rights of responsible gun owners and dealers with the desire to regulate and control the proliferation of weapons that can produce massive carnage in a few seconds.

This is not an impossible task, however. Americans of goodwill can work together with respect to reduce the chance that criminals, hotheads, and mentally-ill individuals will obtain and use these weapons.

No level of effort can prevent a determined, crazy and perhaps lucky person from defeating a defense system. Posting armed guards will not make it impossible. We need to ask ourselves what sort of society we want here in America and take steps to make our positive vision real. Using a negative vision as a model is not the way forward.

This is the task of any generation that seeks to improve the general welfare. We need responsible words from our national leaders and I thank Congressman Reichert for sharing his. It is a difficult challenge but we are equal to the task. With goodwill and good faith all things are possible.

--Ira Worden, Kirkland

President Obama demonized lawful gun owners

I was frustrated and felt disrespected as a citizen by the words used by the president this morning. I am a gun owner and I felt the president was demonizing me for owning firearms and especially since I own and shoot semiautomatic firearms.

I am not an evil person. I have never broken the law, been arrested or done anything that involves the police. I haven’t even had a speeding ticket in years, but the president inferred I am a bad person, the enemy of America. I won’t forget that when it comes time to vote.

The shooting in Newtown was a horrific tragedy, as are all shootings wherein an innocent life is lost or a person is hurt. FBI statistics show 400 people tragically died last year from semiautomatic rifles. Too many I agree, but 600-plus died from baseball bats and hammers.

My point is that a firearm is a tool. What are the causes of this violence? I offer it’s gangs and drugs. Disarming the legal gun owners won’t stop acts of violence using firearms. If they can smuggle drugs and people into our country, do people not realize they can smuggle in guns?

I would ask our representatives to address the true causes of violence, which again right now is gang growth. Second, prosecute everyone to the full extent of the law for criminal use of a firearm. Third, quit disrespecting the legal citizens in this country if you ever expect to be elected again.

--Bernard Wright, Issaquah

Armed guards in schools could be both effective and dangerous

The National Rifle Association proposal to protect schoolkids by using armed guards might work. It would be a dangerous and expensive proposition, however.

The guards must be properly armed and trained. If the guard fires and misses a shooter, the guard’s bullet could penetrate walls from classroom to classroom. Kids and teachers in those classrooms are at risk.

Obviously, equipment, training and pay for the guards would be required. Does the NRA expect the rest of our citizenry to fund this solution? This would be an awesome burden for non-gun owners. Would the NRA step up and do it?

How about a gun and ammo tax?

--Harry Fox, Des Moines

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