The gun debate, from all sides
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchinmade a number of interesting and reasonable suggestions in his Dec. 23 commentary [“Tipping Point?,” Outlook]. But his comment that, if you blame the National Rifle Association for the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., you are in effect blaming all of its 4 million members is without basis.
I, and just about everyone I know who favors some sort of reasonable control and gun-safety legislation, believe there are many NRA members who are willing to accept some restrictions on gun ownership. When speaking of the NRA, we are referring to its irresponsible, intransigent, irrational leadership.
No legislation would eliminate the possibility of mass killings or the equally appalling daily gun violence that takes place in every part of our country. But one action that would definitely help would be for the NRA membership to vote out the organization’s current leadership and bring in a group of reasonable people who are not closely associated with gun manufacturers and who reflect the clamor in this country for compromise on this issue.
Peter Theil, Washington
Michael Gerson [“There are solutions,” op-ed, Dec. 18] is wrong in saying, “The proposed adjustments [e.g., banning assault rifles] do not even come close to crossing constitutional lines.”
The contemporary commentary makes clear that those involved in approving the Second Amendment considered resistance to tyranny its primary purpose. Tench Coxe, a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress and an advocate for the Bill of Rights, put it most clearly: “Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American.”
More important to the current discussion, the Supreme Court reaffirmed this principal in the Heller decision. You can’t resist tyranny without military-type weapons.
Stephen Macartney, Washington
Fareed Zakaria’s view [“A clear solution,” op-ed, Dec. 20] that the problem is easy access to guns is heartbreakingly obvious but emotionally hard for many Americans to hear.
Some years ago I was in London with my brother, and we witnessed a fistfight outside a pub. My brother commented, “If this were in the U.S., one or both men would have pulled out a gun.”
The NRA’s credo that “guns don’t kill people, people do” needs to be amended. The truth is that “guns don’t kill people, but angry people with guns kill more people than angry people without guns.”
Rhoda Ruttenberg, Takoma Park
Anyone who thinks it is a good idea to arm teachers and principals has never attended a faculty meeting.
Roger Kaufman, McLean