Editor's note: We continue to receive a heavy volume of letters on gun control. Here's a sampling from last week:
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GUNS IN AMERICA
A range of reader responses on firearms
Steve Sack's Feb. 1 cartoon certainly hit the nail on the head. Video-game violence, mayhem-and-murder movies, violence in professional sports, or the casual view of life in terms of abortion certainly cannot be blamed for gun violence.
Guns cause violence. It doesn't take a superior intellect to see that. The very sight of a gun arouses primal instincts that could lead to violent acts against others. Owning a gun makes violence even more likely. And holding a gun surely is what ultimately leads people to those horrific acts of violence.
JERRY KASSANCHUK, GOLDEN VALLEY
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Lately a day does not go by without mention of the issue of gun control. Yet as a nation we continue to legally kill over 3,000 children each day through abortions. Some want to tell us that those aborted are not children. However, when we quiet ourselves and listen to our hearts, we know that is a lie. If we want to get serious about protecting our children and live in a society that values life, we need to start at the beginning of life and end abortions now.
SUE WELSH, EDEN PRAIRIE
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I totally disagree with the Jan. 31 letter writer in regards to keeping muskets in the closet. The Second Amendment was not written for hunting and fishing, and the type of weapon that was available at the time is irrelevant. The Second Amendment was written to protect the people from the tyranny of the government.
Thomas Jefferson said, "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." He also said, "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
If the government has automatic weapons and is coming after me for my guns, I want automatic weapons to keep it away. This is not about how many shots it takes to kill a deer. The federal government is our servant, not our master.
LON DUGAN, SHAKOPEE
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A famous cliche tossed out by Second Amendment enthusiasts is: "If guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns." What they ignore is that the great majority of the gun violence incidents are caused not by criminals, but by ordinary people who have access to weapons and use them in a fit of rage or a sudden decision to end it all and take others down with them.
The image of a criminal gang invading a house and attacking a woman and her children should be set aside for the much more frequent case of an estranged husband or boyfriend attacking his ex-wife or girlfriend, and perhaps their children, with his perfectly legal firearm. Authorities do a reasonable job protecting the public from armed criminals, but there is little protection from noncriminals who suddenly lose it and take violent action.
This isn't a good guys vs. bad guys problem. This is a situation where, as Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and they is us." It is very difficult to see where any of the proposed laws or regulations will have much effect. But clearly more guns only make it worse.
ROBERT VEITCH, MINNEAPOLIS
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I am not an NRA member. I do not shoot firearms for sport. I support existing laws restricting felons and the certified mentally ill from possessing firearms. But I do have opinions on the current gun control debate.
In the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the court held, and I paraphrase, that it is constitutional for the average person to possess a typical firearm for self-defense within the home.
My concern rests with the phrase "typical firearm." If I chose to own a firearm only for "self-defense within the home," I would want the most effective available, typical or not, at least as effective as what the perpetrator or perpetrators might have.
BOB JENTGES, NORTH MANKATO, MINN.
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The Jan. 31 letter writer doesn't seem to realize that the weapons in closets 200-plus years ago were the same weapons used by our armies back then. He wants to take away my rights now while our armies use fully automatic assault weapons. He thinks all I need now is a muzzle loader. All I ask is to use my semiautomatic weapons for recreation and, if needed, for protection against enemies both foreign and domestic.
DON STERN, BLACKDUCK, MINN.
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The gun lobby is clever at misleading arguments. Still, it befuddles me that what it is saying is passing for anything but dissembling. The NRA and the gun lobby are now talking about keeping guns out of the arms of criminals, yet 20 children in Newtown, Conn., were massacred by a highly armed and mentally imbalanced man with no criminal record, as is typical for mass murders in the United States. Any serious proposal to address this problem will see to it that there are complete background checks, including mental fitness checks, on all gun purchases.
The senators and congressmen with 100 percent ratings from the NRA are against any more gun laws, but for enforcing the ones existing on our books. Yet these senators and congressmen are the same ones who have been defunding and defanging to the point of uselessness national gun enforcement agencies and laws.
Meanwhile, news outlets known to be on the side of gun manufacturers flood us with stories about how Chicago is having a gun murder wave despite Illinois having the nation's toughest gun laws. They neglect to point out the geography of Chicago, in that it straddles gun-lax Wisconsin, and that unless tough national regulation is passed, state efforts will always fall short.
PAUL ROZYCKI, MINNEAPOLIS
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A personal companion such as a German shepherd can sense danger better than any video surveillance system, and can run faster and farther than any intruder. Unlike any weapon, it can never fall into the "wrong" hands. And a canine can easily distinguish between a foe and a family member -- in the dark.
LARRY J. RIEGER, MINNEAPOLIS