I was born 13 months before the end of World War II and attended college during the Vietnam War protest years. "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" reverberated around the campus and the biting sting of tear gas drifted into my classrooms during protests. On Saturday at the Minnesota State Capitol, I heard young people chanting the same tune, but the words called for a stop to the violence that is killing our children. I felt a personal sense of shame that I and my generation have failed to sustain a society where our children can grow up without fearing they will be gunned down in their neighborhood or shot in their school. The voices of my generation have been silent too long while the killing continues. We must be motivated by the students and the stories of pain and fear they shared with us. We must join with them in their efforts to change the laws and social ills that wreak havoc in their lives.
Stephanie Horowitz, a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, cried as she told us, "My friend had to hold my friend's hand while she passed away." We cannot turn a deaf ear to her story and so many like it. It is past time that we commit our lives to changing our gun-drunk, violent society to one where the promise of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is a reality and not just empty words.
Margaret Boettcher, Stillwater
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Shame, shame on the media for using the young minds of our youths to perpetuate their rally of gun control when they should be in school developing those skills that are important rather than protesting something that our forefathers saw fit to protect our country and our Constitution. The hate we see all over our country will not be corrected with this kind of interference from media.
Larry R. Swenson, Litchfield, Minn.
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On Sunday morning, as I read of the millions of young people and their supporters across the nation who marched in support of effective gun-control legislation, my attention was also drawn to an article in the New York Times on the pro-gun groups that staged counterdemonstrations. In Salt Lake City, the countermarch was organized by Brian Melchior, owner of Utah Gun Exchange, a firearms sales website. The following passage, with quotes from two participants, stood out:
Among them was Cody Frandsen, 17, a high school senior wearing a "Make America Great Again" baseball cap. "I feel like an outsider," said Mr. Frandsen, standing with friends who nodded in agreement. "A lot of the millennials, our age group, is left-leaning." The group began talking about gun laws it might be able to support. "I'm totally for a background check," said Mr. Fransen, noting that he supported universal checks. "I think there should be a mental health check" before purchasing a gun, said his friend Logan Coffey, 17, "And the government should know where every single firearm is." Of those who marched in Washington in support of gun control, Mr. Fransen said he did not agree with anything "they have to say," adding, "But I'm sure we could come up with some kind of compromise."
Mr. Fransen and his friends didn't realize they were calling for changes that every single marcher in the March for Our Lives movement would happily support — universal background checks, "fitness to own weapons" testing and the registration of all weapons.
It is ironic that among both the "pro-gun" and the March for Our Lives supporters, there were millions who understand the entirety of the Second Amendment better than our state and national legislators. Arms may be held, but also must be well-regulated.
Carol K. English, Madison Lake
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The most ironic thing is that there may possibly be meaningful gun legislation passed in the next year. Then, watch when the politicians run for their next election: "Look what I did! Look what I did!" It is then that the newspapers should republish the picture on the front cover of Sunday's Star Tribune. No, politicians, it was not you who did it. It was these hundreds of thousands of young (and old) people who did.
Keith Reed, Rosemount
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Kids say they want to end gun violence in their schools. One solution: Replace the liberties they have now with scanners and turnstiles similar to what people hate about airports. It's kept air travel safe. You sometimes get what you ask for.
Craig Anderson, Brainerd, Minn.
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I had an epiphany about why increased gun regulation is such a hard sell for many people. I also used to wonder why people so adamantly opposed increased voter-registration rules. What can be the harm of making sure the people voting are legal to do so and the people voting are who they say they are? Makes perfect sense, just like increased regulation of guns make sense. Then I watched a documentary on voting and civil rights that focused on the 1950s and '60s, and all the (unconstitutional) barriers designed to keep people from exercising their right to vote. Even though it never happened to me, the extent to which local governments went to keep people out of the voting booth was infuriating.
I finally understood the strong reaction to anything that limits this fundamental constitutional right to vote. I think the same deep-seated sense exists for many people who reject any limitations on constitutional gun rights. I am not a gun owner, but I think I better understand that both objections come from the same place, and that both could have dramatic long-term negative consequences for our democracy.
Paul Putzier, Burnsville
So you think an ignition interlock device is all that?
A March 24 letter ("Drunken-driving legislation: License revocation is futile") praised ignition interlocks. Has the writer ever used one? You can't start your car until you blow in it, then it beeps whenever it wants and you have to do the same thing again and again. It doesn't care if you are in rush-hour traffic or doing 70 miles per hour. It doesn't care if there are emergency vehicles coming. It certainly does not care about driver safety.
My family member has one. One day, it didn't work. He called in and was told to get his vehicle towed to where the interlock device was put in. What if he'd been stuck somewhere when it was 10 below with no cell service? It took three days to find the unit needed for a new device to work. Three days of work missed. Is the installer going to cover that?
Would you want to be in front of someone looking for the interlock to keep the car running? Somebody made a lot of money putting lives in danger. I did write to the interlock installer to see how many accidents this product caused, but never got an answer. Try it for a week or sit in a car when someone uses it. You will not be so happy with this device then. It is as bad as cellphones in the car.
Lori Jungbauer, Lino Lakes
'YEAR OF WOMEN' OR NOT?
Well, certainly the year of some strange legislation
Before criticizing state Rep. Dario Anselmo's dismissal of 2018 as being the year of women ("Women surge into 2018 political races," March 25), we should recognize his efforts to make the world a better place for them. Anselmo is the author of HF 3969, what he calls the "Restoration Hardware Bill." If passed it would allow the city of Edina to "issue an on-sale intoxicating liquor license to a retailer located at 6801 France Avenue South." Currently this site is empty space north of the water tower in the Southdale parking lot — but it might be the future location of a new Restoration Hardware store. No other legislator is working harder than Dario to make it possible for women to drink wine or something stronger while they shop for upscale home furnishings.
Julie Risser, Edina