Thank you for your March 17 cover story "The New Battle Over Guns."
Generally speaking, it was a fairly unbiased account. On the cover, you state, "The Supreme Court decides what the Second Amendment really means" and then ask the question: "Do you have the right to own a gun?" Answer: Hell, yes! Will the Supreme Court reach that decision? I don't see how it could possibly rule any other way. When the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791, it gave people the right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment has not been rescinded, and it never will be, so the right to own a gun is ours in perpetuity.
Although both sides of the gun control issue seemingly have valid points, it was only through the recent murder of my niece that I decided where I really stood. In my state, you can go to Wal-Mart, buy a shotgun and ammunition, and on the same day (no waiting period), you can go and kill someone. That happened to my niece who was recently murdered. She was 29 years old and left behind two young children. You don't need to ask my opinion of Florida gun law.
It is interesting that you picture a Desert Eagle in your story about guns. It is a powerful and expensive pistol that is probably rarely used in crime. But it does make quite an impression. Since when does a citizen of the United States need approval to be able to protect him- or herself at home? Why do we need permission to keep a firearm in our home to protect ourselves? I agree that owning a firearm should carry great responsibility. Carrying a firearm in the community should be restricted. The right to keep and bear arms in your home should not be restricted. But this right should be confined to the home. If an owner has a gun stolen, it is the responsibility of the owner to report it. I don't think more gun laws are needed. Enforcement of the ones on the books should be enough.
Cherry Hill, N.J.
"In Congress, the Uphill Battle for Gun Control" reviews the background of battles to pass new gun laws. There is reference to massacres at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech University, and Omaha's Westroads Mall. It would be good for us to begin to notice that these massacre sites all have one thing in common: They are all legally gun-free zones. The schools are legislated as gun-free zones, and the mall was made gun free by the owners of the mall. In fact, the mall has signs at numerous entrances advising shoppers that guns are not permitted on this property. Killers go where they are the only person on the property with a gun.
Paul S. Collins
It is not guns that maim and kill people; it is the bullets they fire. Why not go back to Daniel Patrick Moynihan's proposal of years past to heavily tax bullets or even ban them outright? Gun collectors could then maintain their collections, albeit sans ammo. For hunting, gun-specific ammunition would be permitted. However, any hunter who feels the need to take an ak-47 into the field is either a lousy shot or lazy. As a physician involved in transplants, the loss of donors that might result from bullet control could have significant consequences, but it's a loss that many would be willing to accept.
Alan Buchman, M.D.
Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Center
Feinberg School of Medicine
The quote on page 43 by the police officer who said, "Most of the guns we're recovering are from people who, even without the ban, would not be allowed to have one anyway," is what the National Rifle Association and law-abiding gun owners like myself have been saying for years. By banning guns, only criminals will have guns. I have had to defend my family with a firearm. It is a very long wait between the time you dial the police and when they arrive. The Supreme Court of the land can rule however it wishes on firearm ownership. The reality is that if guns are banned, only the criminals will have them.
Nine Mile Falls, Wash.
My heart goes out to the mother pictured with the poster asking, "Who sold this gun that killed my son?" ["The Deep Gun Control Divide"]. A better question might be, "Who raised the monster that fired the gun that killed my son?" When a drunk driver hits a school bus, we don't ask who sold him the car.
G. Taylor Ettinger
Grand Blanc, Mich.
It seems obvious that the Second Amendment was intended to address an individual right. Furthermore, it seems obvious that there should be reasonable restrictions on possession and use. These restrictions become unreasonable when they affect the right of law-abiding citizens but do nothing to hinder criminals or reduce crime. Our danger is in allowing the extremists on either side of the issue to define what we as citizens may do.