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Opinion

Call the guns used in Las Vegas what they are: weapons of mass destruction

To the editor: It seems that when we’re praising the first responders for preventing an even worse disaster and potentially saving hundreds or even thousands of lives in a situation where a lone gunman has already shot almost 600 people, we should recognize that what we’re dealing with are weapons of mass destruction. (“Survivors from California recount their terrifying escape from danger in Las Vegas,” Oct. 4)

The body count in Las Vegas is comparable, both in terms of dead and wounded, to that of the chemical weapons attack this year in Syria. The Trump administration responded promptly to that attack by ordering missile strikes.

But where is the “line in the sand” with respect to the carnage in our own country? Are the lives of the people in Las Vegas (or Newtown, Conn. — or pick a town) not worth the same protection as those in Syria, with a commensurate reaction designed to make sure such an attack does not happen again?

Michael Carey, Westlake Village

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To the editor: Effectively managing who owns firearms is the Gordian knot no one has figured out how to untie. The lethality of firearms calls for regulation. However, the stark reality is that, with more than 300 million firearms in Americans’ hands, it’s impossible to unring that bell.

Realizing that elimination isn’t possible, the most we can reasonably hope to achieve is to ensure that the requirements for gun ownership are robust enough to minimize the number of guns in the hands of people likely to misuse them. That’s the lamentable reality in America.

Although gun owners and special interest groups are of various opinions on gun control and the 2nd Amendment, there is too much inertia on this issue. The challenge remains dismayingly insoluble, with no remedy yet devised by those whose job it has been to think long and hard on the matter.

Our ability to prevent future killings bodes no better.

Brian J. Goldenfeld, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: First, I think we need to learn why so many people in this country feel the need to arm themselves. What causes people to feel so threatened that they purchase a firearm?

Second, I think we need to substitute the words “gun control” with “gun safety laws.” People approve of car safety laws, airline safety rules, highway safety mandates and other laws that provide for the public’s safety. Framing the issue around safety may make it easier for people to think differently about gun laws.

Third, we need to allow the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to once again do research on ways to prevent gun deaths.

Linda Shabsin, Diamond Bar

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