State Auditor Rebecca Otto’s condemnation of U.S. Rep. Tim Walz for taking a stand against assault weapons as both compete for the DFL endorsement for governor took my breath away (“Walz’s pivot away from NRA a risk,” Feb. 23). Otto criticized Walz for being late to the table on this issue, saying that he had many opportunities in the past to distance himself from the NRA. She suggested that to do so now is an act of political opportunism.

Do we not want people to change? If nobody changes, then we will continue to be in thrall to the NRA. Isn’t that what the brave young people from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been calling for in the week since the shooting at their Florida school? They, and students across the country, including Minneapolis, have been crying out, demanding that lawmakers change.

Bravo to Walz for changing. If more lawmakers do the same, we might finally break the ugly grip that the NRA has had on our country. And perhaps our children will not have to go to school each day wondering whether it will be their last.

Miriam Karmel, Minneapolis

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The writer of the Feb. 21 editorial counterpoint “Second Amendment means just what it says” (Opinion Exchange, Feb. 22) conveniently omitted the first 13 words: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State … .” If, as the writer maintains, “the militia is you and me,” then this nation should have no problem with this militia being “well regulated.” Sensible gun laws are indeed “necessary to the security of a free State.” When 96 Americans die from gun violence each day, we are no longer free.

Karen Barstad, Minneapolis

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It seems to me that there is a glaring omission in all the recent debate around gun control. Today there is technology available that limits the use of a particular gun to its owner. If all gun use required the fingerprint of its registered owner in order to operate, there would be little or no black market selling of guns. This piece of technology in tandem with strict background checks and rigorous registration processes would go a long way in reducing gun violence in our country. Why is there no legislation requiring gun manufacturers to make only these types of weapons? It would answer the concerns of Second Amendment advocates as well.

Marie Judd, St. Louis Park

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If “gun control” remains the primary focus to stop school shootings, then we are not sincere. We will lose legitimacy and time as another agenda is being pursued. Attacking the NRA is not the solution — neither is attacking politicians. When we see the security measures in place at airports, government buildings and high-profile venues but reject that for schools, schools remain vulnerable. Those who cling to that agenda are serving a different goal than school safety. If we are sincere, then objective considerations and responses are in order. Enhanced security including armed, plainclothes individuals must be part of a common-sense solution. Consider the success of the air marshal program.

While some gun-control measures may be a part of the equation, immediate school safety protocols must receive the highest priority. Enough is enough!

Joseph Polunc, Cologne

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I have taught mathematics in the Twin Cities for more than 30 years. I believe there are things we can do as a nation to make our schools, teachers and students safer that do not involve arming teachers. The answer to alcoholism is not asking others to drink more. The cure for car accidents is not asking everyone to drive faster. Why is the solution to gun violence in schools more guns in schools?

Luke Olson, South St. Paul

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The idea of having teachers packing firearms during school time to protect the students is not only ludicrous, it borders on the edge of idiocy.

The New York Times reported that police officers in Los Angeles have only a 43 percent accuracy in all shootings from a distance of zero to 6 feet. The same statistic from New York City is only 40 percent from zero to 6 feet. These are trained professionals who spend a considerable amount of time on the firing range to keep their skill level up. Though the accuracy rate will be much higher on the range, it does not take into effect adrenaline, the stress of the incident and the unpredictability of the assailant.

If our professionals have this abysmal of an accuracy rate, why in the world would we think that the average Joe with too much testosterone, and the belief that he is able to save the world just like in the movies, would do any better in a stress situation like this?

Also, police representatives are on record after the Columbine and Aurora shootings as saying that having more civilians with guns in these situations creates more confusion and chaos.

Putting more guns into the hands of people is a recipe for disaster, even though some may think that common sense may tell otherwise. Quite often common sense does not match what the facts tell us.

David Berger, Minneapolis


Clearing the cases so swiftly now doesn’t raise confidence

Wow, “Elder-complaint backlog shrinks” (Feb. 20). Over 31 eight-hour days, 2,435 cases were cleared. That, folks, is six minutes per case. No wonder the cited article did not report the number of citations. Six minutes is about the time for a staffer to dismount the swivel-chair, waltz to the file cabinet, pull a file, stroll back to the chair, park, flip a file cover, center the complaint under a rubber stamp and mark it “closed.” Efficient, no?

What we need is a 100 percent transparent record of complaints filed so we can make informed choices as to where to go for elder care.

John Ferman, Minneapolis


All praise for the Minnesotans who are making a big impact

Indescribable elation. That is what many of us Nordic skiers experienced as Afton’s Jessie Diggins crossed the finish line, just ahead of the Swedish skier, to win the first ever American gold medal in cross-country skiing. Teamed with Kikkan Randall, Diggins incredibly outraced the Norwegians and Swedes (“Digging deep, Diggins shows heart of gold,” Feb. 22).

As Nordic skiers, this is arguably a greater Olympic moment than the “Miracle on Ice.” It exceeds an imaginary Vikings Super Bowl victory.

Diggins deserves to be recognized as one of Minnesota’s all-time greatest athletes. All Minnesotans should celebrate her victory, maybe even be so forward as to offer a high-five or a fist bump.

Brad Johnson, Champlin

• • •

Congrats to the U.S. women’s hockey team for winning gold (“Americans get happy ending this time around,” Feb. 22). I was paying little attention to the Olympics after the National Hockey League decided not to allow its players to play in the men’s hockey tournament. However, I caught the overtime and shootout of the women’s finals. I was amazed and excited with the results. In fact, I wrote this after the game ended. I then stayed up to see those on the U.S. Olympic team get their gold medals in the medal ceremony and hear the U.S. national anthem. And after the school shooting in Florida last week, this Olympic medal moment was certainly needed. You go, girls!

William Cory Labovitch, South St. Paul