I reluctantly read the June 19 article “Gun enthusiasts hold fast to AR-15” to try to understand this point of view. I was gratified that promoter Mark Stevens is also trying to understand people’s point of view who are not gun enthusiasts. I come from a hunting family. I have had many meals of venison and pheasant. But I find it unbelievable that our society is not safe as we go to schools, movie theaters and nightclubs because gun enthusiasts want to play games with guns. Please tell me what else the AR-15, in the hands of civilians, is good for. Is there a need? If it is just for fun, this I cannot reconcile with the danger to the rest of society. Please enjoy your sport with handguns, shotguns and single-shot rifles, not the AR-15. I think this is a reasonable compromise.

Susan Sackrison, St. Louis Park

• • •

Competitive shooting participant Adam Maxwell, interviewed in the June 19 article, stated: “I think a lot of the fear comes from something [people] don’t understand. … They just know that [the AR-15] looks scary on TV.” I would like to respond to Mr. Maxwell by stating what should be painfully obvious: No, my fear comes from the fact that one individual can kill dozens of people in a matter of seconds with one of these weapons. Looks have nothing to do with it. But, then, that’s the whole point of a straw-man argument, isn’t it?

David Singley, St. Paul

• • •

The Star Tribune Editorial Board put a lot of time and effort into its June 19 editorial “Gun violence in America: We’re all responsible.” The board included a thought-provoking title, but skipped probably the most effective way to drastically reduce gun violence: Make gun manufacturers and retailers legally liable for the misuse of their product.

We don’t question it when citizens sue the companies that make or sell defective automobiles or faulty medical devices or tainted food. Yet we allowed Congress to pass a 2005 law saying that gun manufacturers and retailers couldn’t be sued.

Not only has this statute had an adverse effect on public health, a fair-minded Supreme Court would rule it unconstitutional. Gun sellers should be doing everything in their power to ensure the safety of their customers and the public.

Instead the law has introduced a Wild West of armament stockpiling, in which someone with evil intent can legally buy or access weapons and shoot more than a hundred clubgoers (Orlando) or tragically murder first-graders and their teachers (Sandy Hook).

Overturning the so-called “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” should be step one.

Adam M. Schenck, New Hope

• • •

The suggestions the Editorial Board made for all of us whom it says are responsible for gun violence were obvious; however, the one political party that happens to be in the majority has been not only deaf to the screams of the public about the horrific tragedies of mass murder but absolutely close-minded for even the smallest suggestion of legislative action to make our country safer from gun violence. It is literally bought and paid for by the NRA.

And the story about the AR-15 competitors fails to ask what they are doing to keep this favorite weapon out of the hands of terrorists, the deranged and others intent on mass killing. Or if it even matters to them. Recent and numerous incidents of mayhem shout to the Star Tribune to ask this question.

Jim Waldo, Duluth


Thanks to Speaker Daudt for standing up to Gov. Dayton

I am usually a big fan of Lori Sturdevant’s columns, but I must say that her June 19 effort was a major disappointment.

She is too smart not to have calculated that she was using her prominent position and reputation to paint Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt into a corner to advance the DFL agenda concerning the issues requiring a special session. More specifically, while she portrays Daudt as a person who must be protecting himself personally (his standing as speaker and his possible run for the governorship), she says next to nothing about the heavy-handed behavior of Gov. Mark Dayton. His “my way or the highway” is not what Minnesotans need at this point.

Minnesotans would be right to blame the governor at this juncture for refusing to call the special session unless the Republicans in the House fold. That is not how government should work, and Minnesotans should applaud Daudt for standing up to Dayton.

I am a lifelong Democratic voter and financial supporter. But I am so fed up with Gov. Dayton that I recently returned a DFL request for further funding with a note to remove my name from the party’s mailing list.

John J. Ursu, Minneapolis


Thanks for the memories. (And, no thanks for our reputation?)

We have known a great entertainer in our lives. He is retiring. A representative excellent picture of him appeared on the front page of the June 19 Star Tribune.

Garrison Keillor has been a combination of understatement and daring, with occasional digs toward politics and social issues. Furthermore, Mr. Keillor has combined the very soul of gentle satire with occasional bits of raw humor.

So he now moves into our past with, for sure, plenty of radio reruns.

Morning radio, not television, was my habit. In about 1970, while moving the dial to find something other than too-early blasts of pop music and wake-’em-up announcers, I found his voice and his eclectic selections of enjoyable recordings. It was Minnesota Educational Radio (MER), later Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). Keillor’s technician turned sidekick was Jim Ed Poole, in real life Tom Keith.

Within a very few years, we had “A Prairie Home Companion,” with all those wonderful sounds, characters, guests and stories. The rest is history that is about as good as we can ever get. Thank you, Gary Edward “Garrison” Keillor, for all that past, present and reruns.

Rodney Hatle, Owatonna

• • •

In 1977, as a freshman at the University of Colorado, I recall sitting at a dorm cafeteria table with new students from half a dozen states. A kid from New York City, with no irony intended, asked: “Is Minnesota like Los Angeles? Everyone I meet from there seems like they are from L.A.” No one laughed, since the Minnesota kids at our table, fit and stylish, hailing from places like Edina and Wayzata, did seem to me, a Colorado native, to be much like the kids from Orange County and Beverly Hills.

How the reputation of Minnesota has changed during the past 39 years! Recently, a friend in Colorado told me his manager highlighted a promotion opportunity in Minneapolis during a large-group meeting. He said that the crowd reaction was universal groans. And when the manager protested that “the bad winters are exaggerated,” someone in the room responded, “It’s not the weather; it’s living among all those morons.” The room erupted in laughter, with several people referencing “that [public radio] show about Minnesota.”

Once known as a progressive, forward-looking place with cold winters, Minnesota now has the reputation of being populated mostly by bovine, passive-aggressive, mush-eating nincompoops. Keillor’s “Lake Wobegon” has defined Minnesota to the millions of people who have heard the program on the radio or have attended his road shows around the globe. Sadly, most of these fans are highly educated, liberal people who, if they knew the real Minnesota, would be likely big fans of our state.

It will take a very long time for the “Cold Appalachia” image of Minnesota that Mr. Keillor has so vividly planted in the minds of influential people around the world to fade. Let’s hope his retirement will bring a swift end to Lake Wobegon as well!

Jerry Anderson, Eagan