I was appalled by the mindless full-page ad taken out by the National Rifle Association in The Post Sept. 15. Attempting to play on our fear of street crime, the ad asks why a "threatened" (meaning generally frightened of walking in the streets) woman who "has never committed a crime" should have to wait weeks or months before she can legally buy a handgun. Well, to anyone with common sense, the answer to this question is: How do you know she hasn't committed a crime or has mental problems unless you give the police time to check?

John Hinckley Jr. didn't have to wait to buy the gun he shot President Reagan with; Mark David Chapman didn't have to wait to buy the gun he murdered John Lennon with; "Son of Sam" didn't have to wait to buy the gun he killed all those young people with. The headlines are full of stories about insane people who went to a state with no waiting period, bought a gun and went out and randomly killed innocent people.

Furthermore, no one actually schooled in constitutional law believes, as the NRA has claimed, that individuals have a constitutional right to own guns. If the NRA believes they do, why has it never taken a case to court on those grounds? The results of the NRA's efforts will be exactly what it says it's trying to prevent: more murder. GENE POZNIAK Washington