Some states acted before federal rules


While the United States waits for the federal government to propose and enact reasonable gun safety laws, it is worth noting that Minnesota has weak gun regulations compared to other states. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives Minnesota the same overall score on its gun laws as Alabama.

Alabama requires gun dealers to be licensed; Minnesota does not. Mississippi and other states require gun dealers to retain records of sales and, in some cases, to report sales and thefts to the state. Some states have similar licensing and records requirements of businesses that sell ammunition. An increasing number of states limit handgun sales to one per month to prevent bad guys from making bulk purchases for resale to criminals. Minnesota licenses manicurists but has none of these reasonable requirements.

Some states haven't waited for the federal government to ban the sale of clips holding more than 10 rounds. Some require semi-automatic handguns to be stamped with a small identifier to make it easier to trace the history of guns that are diverted to criminals. Some states require trigger locks on all handguns. Locks can prevent a terrible accident when a child finds a gun. Minnesota has none of these regulations.

Some states require a person to have a license to possess a gun. Some states did not wait for Vice President Joe Biden's commission to lead, they already require background checks of guns sold at gun shows. Some require background checks for sales by private individuals. Some require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns. Again, Minnesota does not.

None of these laws or responsibilities would affect any qualified person's ability to buy, sell or own a gun. They would demonstrate our commitment to keeping guns from falling into the wrong hands.

DR. steven miles, Minneapolis

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Since the start of the Great Recession, more than 300,000 public school teaching positions have been eliminated by budget cuts.

Instead of hiring 300,000-plus armed guards for our schools, colleges, theaters and shopping malls, we need to eliminate assault weapons and license guns like we license automobiles and trucks.

Instead of advocating more violence, hate and fear, we should practice more inclusion and pay down our war debts.


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On the tough issues, U.S. would rather punt


Our country is now the world leader in kicking the can down the road. Fiscal cliff, national debt? Kick it. Common-sense action to control the man-made causes of global warming? Kick it. Rational action concerning the control of weapons of mass killing and the homegrown terrorists who feel the need to use them? Kick it. This national tendency is not sustainable. Our leaders need to have genuine discussions that lead to genuine results, and in the process forget about lobbyists, party and selfish interests. A sustainable path forward will not be easy or painless. We all need to step up to the task.


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In the end, consumers will cover the new costs


Why all of the outrage from manufacturers over the new medical device tax? ("Medical device tax survives fight to kill it," Jan. 14).

The 2.3 percent tax will merely be a part of higher prices paid by consumers, insurers, Medicare and Medicaid.

This is just a "pass through" cost like all sales taxes, and it seems odd that medical device manufacturers are making such a fuss about it. We consumers should be the ones complaining as we pay the higher prices and higher insurance premiums while watching Medicare and Medicaid deplete faster due to the tax.


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Patrons make a choice to gamble their money


I was most disturbed to read the Jan. 11 letter that basically blamed all of society's ills on the Native American casinos.

Unlike people consigned to a nursing facility, people who visit a casino make a personal choice to do so. Yes, an overindulgence in games of chance can lead to ruin. So does an overindulgence in alcohol and tobacco. Please remember that the state runs a lottery as well.

It's thinly veiled racism for the letter writer to pronounce that the populace is being injured by Native American casinos.

It's worth remembering that no one makes anyone gamble at a casino, and Native American land is sovereign territory.


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Story failed to address some critical questions


I am puzzled by the front page, above-the-fold attack on U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. ("Aide: Bachmann wants me silent," Jan. 12). An accusation is made about coercing signatures on a confidentiality agreement to silence people. What is puzzling is the article answers nothing. Generally a coerced signature has no legal validity. Yet this obvious point is ignored.

Are confidentiality agreements really routine or not? This could be easily determined, and the answer would either make the story or break it.

Perhaps the Star Tribune did not want to find out. If confidentiality agreements are routine, then there is no story and the headline is irresponsible and empty innuendo.

Martin R. Wellens, Shorewood

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Failing to see the sense in DFL tax proposal


Minnesota currently has the seventh-highest income taxes (as compared to the other 49 states), but ranks 26th, right in the middle of the pack, in property taxes.

So, the obvious plan by the DFL is to increase income taxes to subsidize property taxes. You have to love the logic.