Congress Defeats Gun-Control Bill

In response to "House Backs NRA, Rejects 7-Day Wait for Handguns," Part I, Sept. 16:

I am ashamed, outraged, and appalled at the cowardly, shortsighted, self-serving, and ultimately life-threatening action of our representatives in Congress, in their failure to pass the so-called Brady amendment requiring a nationwide waiting period for anyone wishing to purchase a handgun.

I do not believe that there is any clear-thinking American who thinks that handguns should be allowed to be sold to persons convicted of violent crimes. The Brady amendment would merely have required that all prospective purchasers of handguns wait for a short period, so that records could be checked in order to avoid a sale to a person whose possession of such a weapon should rightfully be denied. Apparently, however, this Congress is more interested in preserving the monies its members' campaigns receive from the National Rifle Assn. than in preserving American lives.

The issue at stake with the Brady amendment was not the right of the public to bear arms. The proposed law was merely an attempt to set up a uniform and reasonable method of regulating the availability of guns so that they are not sold to those individuals who are most likely to misuse them. Law-abiding gun buyers would be virtually unaffected.

The NRA argues that a national law is not necessary, and that the individual states should decide all issues of gun control for themselves. However, if a handgun can be purchased with great ease in Nevada, then a California law, no matter how strict it is, is totally useless.

I do not know of any clause in the Constitution which allows Congress to relegate the safety of the streets and homes of America to an unelected and irresponsible private club such as the NRA, but that is, in effect, what this current Congress has done. All the millions of dollars that the NRA has spent in lobbying against the Brady amendment are not worth the life of any one of the thousands of innocent victims who have been or will be shot by persons who would never have been allowed to own a gun if our representatives in Congress acted through their hearts and minds instead of through their wallets. With our votes in November, we should let these politicians know that we will not abide having our lives endangered by their greed.

LARRY S. KOHORN

Manhattan Beach

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