Of everything I have read about “gun violence/gun control,” Linda Carvel’s Jan. 27 commentary (“A new game plan: Treat gun violence like smoking”) was the most unique attempt at making sense of the Second Amendment dilemma. I applaud her attempt. Gun control is a complicated issue! I remember being in East Germany before the wall came down and asking an East German what he thought of the fact that I could easily enter and exit East Germany while he could not. As he pointed west, he said, “It is dangerous out there.” He meant, of course, democratic West Germany. At the time, I was not sure of what to make of his rejoinder, but as I aged, I believe I began to understand. Freedom is not perfect. Everything in a free society is not without complications. The beautiful thing about freedom is that we do have the opportunity to fix what goes wrong or fix what is wrong. Thanks to the Second Amendment, I have a permit to carry a handgun. I do not carry. In my own mind, I am not sure if I will ever carry, but I do have a permit and I can carry if I choose to. The world today is a very dangerous place. Is it dangerous enough for me to carry? With people like Linda Carvel trying to fix a very bad thing, I hope I will never feel that I have to carry.

Bob Steinbruck, Coon Rapids

• • •

Carvel and many others need to think a little deeper about guns rather than being politically correct and trying to compare strategies to address violence with, for instance, action against smoking in hospitals, restaurants or on aircraft. In her commentary, Carvel did not address all of the places where guns should not be (and way too often are):

• They should not be present in home invasions and resulting robberies, assaults, torture and sexual assaults. But they are.

• They should not be present at armed robberies of businesses or persons. But they are.

• They should not be present at rapes. But they are.

• They should not be present at assaults. But they are.

• They should not be present by felons walking the streets among us every day. But they are.

• They should not be present at traffic stops and used by car occupants against police officers. But they are.

• They should not be present at any crime at any time, but they are!

The mere display, not only the use of a gun at a crime, should, upon conviction, put that person away behind bars for a long time. No plea bargaining, no playing with the law for a guilty plea, no nothing. The offender must be imprisoned. A strict no-tolerance stance against guns used in crimes in the U.S. needs to be firmly set.

I don’t know about you, but I’m fed up with hearing constantly about repeat offenders who do all sorts of crimes over and over again, using guns.

William R. Lundquist, Bloomington

The writer is a retired police officer.

• • •

Carrying a firearm for self-defense is a God-given right — not granted by government. In fact, our Constitution (the Second Amendment) prevents our government from infringing this right.

In speaking of the risks regarding a dropped handgun, Carvel shows her lack of gun knowledge in that modern handguns have built-in safety features that prevent them from firing when dropped.

Plano, Texas, has more guns per capita than other cities its size, but it has the lowest crime rate. Compare Plano with heavy gun-control cities such as Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans or Minneapolis. So it’s not the guns causing the violence, as some would have you believe.

Most Minnesota gun owners and gun club members are for and support gun safety through more public gun education, not more gun control.

Bob Bates, Howard Lake, Minn.

 

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

From Sanders to Clinton to Trump to Cruz …

There have been many urgings for Bernie Sanders’ supporters to look to George McGovern’s failed presidential run in 1972 as instructive of why they shouldn’t back someone “too left of center” (Readers Write, Jan. 28). This is the type of “vote out of fear” rhetoric we hear every election. Whether it be “Ralph Nader cost Al Gore Florida and the presidency” or “this time the opponent is worse then ever and must be stopped,” the drums beat loud for this kind of thinking. The establishment candidates feel entitled to the votes. It speaks nothing to whether these are new or disenfranchised voters who wouldn’t participate but for Sanders’ message. I urge people to vote their conscience in regards to real issues (inequality, environment, health care); you will get many, many more chances to vote for the status quo.

Robert Heise, Richfield

• • •

An open letter to Hillary Clinton: Please, Madam, ask Sen. Sanders why he thinks your speaking fees are excessive. He is aghast that you received $200,000 from Goldman Sachs. That is exactly what other retired Cabinet members received. Some former government officials (for example, Ben Bernanke) were paid a lot more. Why should you be paid less? Few women have the gall to demand that they get paid like their male counterparts. You are an example to us all.

Sanders pushes this charge of excessive fees to claim you cannot be trusted to reign in the big banks. Nonsense. Standing your ground and demanding equal pay shows that you are not likely to be cowed by the big boys.

Billie Reaney, St. Louis Park

• • •

I was thrilled to see front-page coverage of the Bernie Sanders rally and his call for economic and racial justice. I’m a low-wage worker and a recent college graduate, and, as you might expect, I’m struggling.

My friends and I got to the rally almost an hour before the doors opened, and already the line was like a bad day at DisneyWorld. Despite the ache in my feet and the fact that I only got five hours of sleep after I finally got home, it was worth it to feel the crowd’s energy and hear the speech.

Like so many people in the Twin Cities, I need the $15-per-hour minimum wage. And I was galled that the Minneapolis mayor and City Council seemed to give up on it and the rest of the Working Families Agenda. I was glad to hear Sanders announce that local discussions are underway for a new directly democratic tactic — a ballot initiative that would take the matter directly to the voters. With racial and economic disparities tearing our city apart, it is shocking that the City Council would skip this opportunity to move forward for economic justice. If they won’t act, we will.

Claire A. Thiele, Minneapolis

• • •

I spent a year studying at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. I have studied Swedish politics, especially the Social Democrats, ever since. I have even taught a university course on the topic.

My belief is that Bernie Sanders and his version of democratic socialism would have a difficult toboggan ride in Sweden. In the U.S., it will be more like permanent icy gridlock.

Gary Heath, Clinton, Iowa

• • •

Did you know the U.S. has no ambassador to Sweden? We have no ambassador to Norway, either. Do you know why these two important posts have gone unfilled for over a year? The reason is one man: Sen. Ted Cruz (front page, Jan. 28). He’s holding up Senate approval of the nominations simply because he doesn’t like President Obama. Got it? At the same time, this senator who wants to be president is trying to get a street in Washington, D.C., renamed for a Chinese dissident whom the government of that nation intensely dislikes. This man who wants to be president now wants to poke a finger in the eye of one of the most powerful nations in the world. Is this how responsible presidents act? Is this a man you want to vote into office as president of the United States?

Carl Brookins, Roseville

• • •

In tracking the Star Tribune’s letters from readers the past 60 days, I found that 90 percent of the comments printed about Donald Trump by the Star Tribune were from Trump-bashers on the left.

This newspaper should strive to be more fair and balanced in its coverage. From a business standpoint, it is not wise to silence the opposing views of the large segment of society who buy this newspaper.

Perhaps this explains why Trump’s success has snuck up and surprised everyone?

Corby Pelto, Plymouth