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Readers Write (Dec. 9): Gun safety, clergy scandal, health care, online sales tax

  • December 8, 2013 - 5:18 PM

Gun safety

Politicians need to act on plastic gun solutions

You are absolutely correct that Congress needs to address the threat of plastic guns posed by 3-D printing (“Renew and expand law on plastic guns,” Dec. 3 editorial).

The partial solution, I believe, would be to require the incorporation of radiopaque (X-ray blocking) additives in all feedstock used for 3-D printing. Because much of this feedstock is produced overseas (China, particularly), there would need to be stiff penalties involved for importing non-radiopaque feedstock. The cost of these additives would be relatively low and could be passed on to the 3-D printer users.

Additionally, if the plastics used by other manufacturers of plastic guns also included radiopaque, this would help solve the problem of people removing the currently required metal piece. Radiopaque additives, unfortunately, would not make guns detectable by metal detectors, but they would at least prevent their inclusion in carry-on baggage. Other security measures would still be needed for guns carried on the body, but metal detectors could probably detect the ammunition.

david coats, Minneapolis

• • •

As I celebrate this holiday season, I think about the losses in Newtown, Conn., and the nearly eight children who die from guns every day in our country. I also think about the lack of post-Newtown action by our state legislators and Congress.

What will it take to turn this around so that public safety for all rises to the top of our political agenda? How do we get the attention of elected officials who care more about their big donors than the safety of our children? I, for one, have joined with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to work for common-sense gun laws — something we can all live with.

While those of us who support common-sense gun laws enjoy a majority status in our country, it takes an organized effort to be heard in our capitals. As a mom, I will not be silent. On Dec. 14, I will be ringing bells in solidarity with other moms across the country to honor the victims of gun violence and their families.

Linda winsor, St. Paul

catholic clergy

List doesn’t absolve those who knew before

During my stint as a public schoolteacher, I was obligated by law to make authorities aware of any suspected child abuse. Not doing so could/should have cost me my job.

Now that the list of accused clergy has been made public (“Abusers in Catholic church revealed,” Dec. 6), those in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who did not report what they knew should resign or be dismissed.

The abusing priests are not the only ones who are guilty. The church personnel who transferred abusing priests, ignored the pleas of the victims, failed to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials and did not live up to the very words they preach are as guilty as the abusing priests.

Making the list public does not and should not absolve them of their roles as accessories to the crimes allegedly committed by those on the list.

GEORGE LARSON, Minneapolis

health care

MNsure is affordable even if system is flawed

Website fixes and higher enrollment numbers aside, the real story is what’s actually available if you need quality affordable health insurance (“MNsure requests double in month,” Dec. 5).

First, if you couldn’t afford health insurance before, you probably can now. With more people in the pool and competition among insurers and tax credits for those who need them, I’d be surprised if you weren’t surprised at how affordable health care is, compared with how it used to be. If you were denied for a pre-existing condition or charged more for it, no worries: Insurance companies can’t do that to you anymore.

Kid off in college or still in the nest? Keep them on until they’re 26. And yeah, it turns out that if you had a $54-per-month policy with a $12,000 deductible that doesn’t provide the benefits just mentioned (and next to no coverage for much of anything else), you can’t keep it. Not sure why you’d would want to.

Forget the scare tactics and propaganda. Even if it’s a bit of a hassle right now, something as important as your family’s health is worth checking out yourself.

George f. Greene, Brooklyn Park

online sales

U.S. Supreme Court is clear on sales taxes

The message from the U.S. Supreme Court to the Minnesota Legislature was loud and clear when the court let stand a ruling by New York’s Court of Appeals allowing that state to collect sales taxes on Internet companies, even if they fail to have a physical presence in the state.

Minnesota businesses — our own friends and neighbors, in many cases — have been at a distinct disadvantage for years, ever since Internet shopping became such a large factor. While our local retailers have been obliged to collect sales taxes on purchases, those who buy online pay no sales taxes.

Not only is this manifestly unfair to local merchants, but it deprives the state of millions of dollars in tax revenue that certainly could be put to good use.

The message to our Legislature is clear: Make it a priority to put us on the same footing with the 18 states that already have such laws. To do otherwise punishes both the state’s coffers and local businesses.

alan miller, Eagan

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