Regarding the Dec. 1 editorial “Counting the victims”:

I have always found it interesting what Americans will do in the pursuit of “safety.” Lightly drizzling outside? Better drive 20 miles under the speed limit. Spot a group of teenagers hanging around outside a school? Better call the cops; they could be dangerous. But a total of 12,000 gun murders every year? No big deal; guns are there to protect us.

I wish I could say the New York Times’s report on children killed accidentally by guns surprised me, but it didn’t. Equally not shocking is that the report will accomplish nothing, other than preach to those who already acknowledge that someone with a gun poses more of a danger than someone without one.

It is impossible to have a meaningful debate about gun regulations because of the automatic resistance from the gun lobby.

Alexander Van Beek, Fairfax Station

Regarding Kevin O’Holleran’s Dec. 2 op-ed, “Winning on gun control”:

I am a gun owner, and I take no issue with those who seek to strengthen gun regulation in a sensible way, such as tightening the gun-show loophole and improving background checks. However, there is a basic flaw in the math Mr. O’Holleran used in arguing why his candidate, Virginia Sen. Mark R. Herring (D-Loudoun), won the attorney general’s race.

Mr. O’Holleran stated that Mr. Herring won in Northern Virginia by more than 100,000 votes and that “57 percent of those who voted for Herring in Northern Virginia believe gun issues had a major impact on the way they voted.” While interesting, this is a only a majority of the voters who voted for Herring — not a majority of all voters in Northern Virginia.

Mr. O’Holleran tried to suggest that a majority of Virginians are calling for more aggressive action on gun regulation. Given that Mr. Herring won the election (pending a recount) by fewer than 200 votes, it’s hard to see how that is a mandate for action. It looks like an even split to me. 

William T. Coleman, Alexandria