To the Editor:
When I wrote my letter last week concerning reasonable gun control [Reasonable gun rules will not violate the Second Amendment, September 26] it occurred to me that this was an exercise in futility. Given the comments the letter received, I realize I was correct. I in no way suggested that people give up their guns. My only argument was that they be used in a safe and sensible way. I agree that the mental health issue is a big part of the problem, but it is not the only thing. Yet, even if it was, as those who oppose gun control assert, why not institute strong background checks so that at least some mentally ill persons will be denied access to firearms?
One of those who commented on the letter appears to believe we are still in the 18th century and worries about the British marching on Concord and apparently believes that we all belong to the militia. He (or she) also believes we need the Second Amendment to protect the Third, which prohibits the quartering of soldiers in a private home. I’m not sure when this was last an issue (although if the government shuts down, the military may have to close their barracks and ask us all to house their personnel). I would suggest that this person ask the family of those who died in Connecticut, in Arizona, in Colorado, in Washington, D.C., and in five dozen other places in the last three decades, whether they are concerned about a British attack on Concord or the quartering of soldiers in private homes.
In any event, I really did not mean to make this section of the paper a referendum on gun control. No minds will be changed by what we say here. Gun enthusiasts will still hold tightly on to their guns (to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a rifle is just a rifle). Unfortunately, politicians will still ignore the slaughter of innocents, the maiming of one of their own, the attack on members of the military that they profess to revere. One wishes that they could stop being in thrall to the NRA. Charlton Heston is gone, it’s time to take the gun from his cold, dead hand.