People gather at a makeshift memorial outside the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif. (Mike Nelson/European Pressphoto Agency)

The Dec. 7 front-page article “Obama seeks to ease terror fears” reported that President Obama asked Congress “to approve new laws that would bar suspected terrorists who are banned from flying to buy guns in the United States.” The San Bernardino, Calif., shooters, neither of whom was on the list, acquired guns from a friend. What would prevent a person on the no-fly list from doing the same?

Until Congress enacts stricter laws concerning the purchase of guns, and the National Rifle Association changes its mission, Americans will be at risk because almost anyone can buy a gun and use it indiscriminately.

Alice L. Haber, Rockville

By order of the president, U.S. flags were flown at half-staff from Dec. 3 through Monday to honor the victims of the attack in San Bernardino, Calif.

This was the third time this year the president ordered flags to be flown at half-staff because of a mass killing in the United States. His previous orders were for victims in Roseburg, Ore., in October and Chattanooga, Tenn., in July.

It must be difficult for the president to decide which of our mass shootings deserves to be commemorated in this way. At this point, we Americans are also likely confused about where to draw the line on formally honoring victims, since some form of mass shooting occurs just about every day in the United States.

Maybe we should just keep the flags at half-staff until we go a month or a week without a mass shooting.

David Ballard, Reston

In his Dec. 4 op-ed , “Mass shootings all share one link,” Eugene Robinson argued that the United States has more gun homicides than other countries because it is easy for Americans to purchase firearms. I agree that gun ownership matters, but this can hardly be the sole explanation.

Wyoming has the highest gun-ownership rate in the nation, yet its number of gun murders per capita is lower than Israel’s. Vermont, North Dakota and Idaho are other states with easy and widespread access to firearms, but the homicide-by-gun rate in Vermont is lower than in Italy . In North Dakota, the rate is on par with that of Taiwan; and in Idaho, it is substantially below the rate in Macedonia.

Simon Hedlin, Washington

Regarding the Dec. 6 news articleFalwell Jr. urges his students to arm themselves”:

As a practicing Baptist, I find it morally reprehensible that the leader of a major Christian university advocates for students to carry guns, presumably now and while leading future churches and organizations.

The Liberty University Mission Statement reads: “Encourage a commitment to the Christian life . . . as it is lived out, a life that leads people to Jesus Christ as the Lord of the universe and their own personal Savior.” Would Jesus really need all of us to carry a concealed weapon to live as he wants us to?

As an American, I am mortified by the comments that university President Jerry Falwell Jr. made.

David E. Schmitz, Springfield

The Dec. 6 front-page articleA survivor’s life” provided a glimpse of the enormous lifelong physical, emotional and financial burdens borne by gun violence’s innocent victims and their families.

Why, at the very least, should gun owners and all who profit from gun sales not be required to carry liability insurance that would pay for these victims’ lifelong physical and emotional care and support?

The NRA and its political supporters insist gun restrictions won’t prevent gun violence and would tread only on the rights of those who wish to own guns. Okay, perhaps, but why should the victims’ rights be ignored? 

For-profit, competitive insurance companies could provide such insurance, just as they sell liability coverage for drivers. 

Michael Steward, Burke