Why isn't the tragedy in the Fort Worth Baptist church being treated as a "hate crime?"

If this crime had been perpetrated against homosexuals, women or minorities it would be instantly labeled as an unqualified hate crime.

ERIC LARSON

Chula Vista, Calif.

The Sept. 19 article "Gun Control's Limited Aim" [front page] missed the point when it proclaims in a subheadline: "Bills Would Not Have Stopped Recent Killings." Gunmen such as the Texas shooter can find ways to get around gun laws, but most deaths related to guns do not happen in high-profile cases such as Fort Worth or Littleton.

The Post's front-page article creates an impression that because we cannot stop these "mentally unstable" people, we cannot stop the death caused by an overabundance of firearms on our streets and in our homes.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control, 13 people under the age of 19 are killed in gun homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings each day. And most of these deaths occur not because of rampages but because guns were easily available during a heated argument or child's play.

Communications wizards at the National Rifle Association are sure to exploit incidents such as the Texas shooting by spinning their message that "gun control won't really stop the killing." But with nearly 200 million privately owned firearms circulating in the United States, it's past time to pass laws to get some of those guns off the street.

And it's time for The Post to report about the lives that could be saved in the process.

KATHY SWAYZE

Washington