The debate about whether people kill people or guns kill people is pointless. What’s happening over and over is that people are using guns to kill people.

We need to pick a number: the maximum number of rounds of ammunition allowed for any weapon/magazine combination. I would favor the number six, as it has been the standard of six-shooter revolvers for so long.

If that number isn’t acceptable, a working group should be formed to decide the issue. Here is who doesn’t get to be in the group: wingnuts on the left who would ban firearms entirely in violation of the Second Amendment; wingnuts on the right who would add whatever they could get their hands on to their armament pile; the National Rifle Association, because its tired “slippery slope” defense ignores that we as a society draw lines where they are needed all the time; and sportspeople who shoot for pleasure (nothing personal against this particular group, but their fun is secondary to people’s safety).

Who does get to be in the group are folks representing the moderate core of our country: hunters, people who own handguns for self-defense, survivors of gun violence and families of those who didn’t survive.

Those last two may be more “unusual” than moderate, but they are entirely appropriate because the grief they carry is felt in the bones of the vast majority of us, their fellow citizens.

If that group can agree on a number, then we have a deal.

As to the argument that criminals would still get their hands on certain weapons if new laws made them illegal, there’s some truth to that. But those laws would reduce the carnage because so many recent shootings have been perpetrated with legally purchased semi-automatic weapons. At this point, an imperfect solution is far better than enduring the rapid-fire tragedies striking our nation.

Jeff Naylor, Minneapolis

• • •

Most people who own military-style rifles do so for protection, target practice or hunting. You should be able to have them in your home for protection, use them at a firing range or hunt with them.

But it should be illegal to transport them except for target practice or hunting. If you’re going to a firing range, you would inform them in advance, which would be easy to corroborate if you were stopped by the police. There could also be a law enforcement number to call or text and provide your hunting license number and details of when and where you’re going hunting. If you have the rifle in your vehicle, you must have a hunting license and have called or texted the number. This contact would take less than one minute, not violate anyone’s rights and make us all safer.

Mike Tronnes, Minneapolis

• • •

One of the saddest news clips I’ve read: Other countries such as Guatemala, Uruguay and Japan are issuing warnings on travel to this country due to our levels of gun violence. We are losing safety, respect and our own sense of security. Hard to believe some of our elected officials think this is OK.

The warnings cautioned travelers to avoid places with large gatherings of people and Guatemala’s cited “the impossibility of the authorities to prevent these situations, due to — among other factors — the indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population.”

Kerry Anderson, Plymouth


If Trump hadn’t created trade issue, he wouldn’t have to patch it up

Even as President Donald Trump’s trade war with China has hammered farmers, it has not left the rest of the country unscathed. The president glibly claimed on Twitter that “China will not be able to hurt [farmers] in that their President has stood with them and done what no other president would do”(“Chinese trade move a ‘body blow’ to farmers,” front page, Aug. 7). The president's unspoken reference was to millions of dollars in aid payments doled out to struggling farmers.

So where is the gain to be found in Trump's shortsighted tariff policies? While he has pulled the rug out from under successful farmers, his compensatory bailouts are costing millions in taxpayer dollars and adding to the ever-increasing national debt, not to mention higher prices consumers will pay for imported goods.

Of course no one wants to see farmers hurt, but dismantling the market and offering subsidies is no solution for hardships brought on by Trump’s trade policies.

Alta Hanson, Sauk Centre, Minn.


Why extra effort to criticize?

I find it hard to understand why the Star Tribune is not giving U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar a break. Worse, instead of finding stories that commend her, reporters are searching for the ones that attack and belittle her.

The paper was quick to report the anonymous complaints from her staff, but while other sources praised her for being the most productive candidate, the paper chose to highlight comments that her bills were “not controversial” (“ ‘I get things done,’ says Klobuchar,” July 30).

While other candidates promote free plans for health care, college, etc. without detailing how to pay for them beyond the vague “taxing the rich,” Klobuchar chose not to join them. Indeed, she showed courage when she responded to a college student that, no, she did not support free college for everyone.

During the recent debate, Klobuchar was the only one refusing to attack her rivals by name. Many media outlets praised her but not a single word from the Star Tribune Editorial Board.

It seems obvious that the Star Tribune made a decision to not praise our senator. But why the extra effort to criticize her?

Hanna Hill, Plymouth


Fresh water — in Minnesota or elsewhere — has no substitute

There is a connection between the story “One-fourth of the world faces looming water crises” (Aug. 7) and the ongoing struggle to protect Minnesota waters from sulfide mining practices that have brought disastrous ruin elsewhere. (The Environmental Protection Agency estimates costs to be borne by taxpayers for cleaning up old mines in the U.S. at $54 billion.)

Climate change, pollutants and increasing population are creating an urgent risk that parts of the world will run out of fresh water. Currently, 17 countries are under extremely high water stress. Meanwhile, we enjoy an extraordinary plenty of this vital resource — so much so that we take it for granted and are willing to risk despoiling vast regions.

Fresh water is essential and has no substitute. Copper and nickel, on the other hand, can be replaced if we apply our minds to modifying existing technologies or creating different ones. My husband, a retired scientist, is fond of saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Let’s put our minds toward finding new technologies to modify or replace those that require nickel or copper, and let’s foster different types of businesses to help prosper northern Minnesota.

Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights

We want to hear from you. Send us a letter to the editor or a commentary.