* In response to “Taming the Gun Monster: The Federal Role,” editorial, Nov. 22:
I have never been a vocal supporter of gun rights and in fact have found many of the positions taken by the National Rifle Assn. to be intractable and indefensible. But being faced with the threat of having my guns, which are housed safely and used principally for sporting purposes, confiscated forces me to come out of the closet as a shooting enthusiast.
I wish The Times would spend as much time proposing solutions to the serious social and economic problems which underlie the senseless violence in our society today as you do condemning handguns. Nobody wants gang members and madmen running around with loaded guns. But why must we penalize the millions of Americans who own and use handguns legally and responsibly for the sins of the minority who, for the most part, are not acquiring their firearms through legitimate sources and who certainly couldn’t be expected to turn their handguns in to law enforcement agencies were a total ban declared.
Denying all Americans their ability to own and use firearms is not the solution, and I fear the people who will be hurt the most are those of us who play by the rules already--not the bad guys.
PENELOPE D. MAINES
* In a perfect world there would be no violence, no hate, no war, no weapons. In a perfect world we could all turn in our guns, hold hands and sing. Unfortunately, this is far from a perfect world.
As the riots proved, the world is a dangerous place and police cannot protect us. If we banned all handguns, yes, I, as a law-abiding citizen, would send them in, and there I would be, totally defenseless. Do I not have the right to defend myself and my family?
If your proposal was enacted, who would have the ultimate power of force? The government and the criminals. As strongly as I feel about democracy, I still recall Germany being a democratic society right before Hitler disarmed citizens.
* Regarding Daniel Polsby’s commentary on gun control (Nov. 24): I’ve finally had enough of these apples-and-oranges arguments. Gun control is not comparable to Prohibition. Guns exist for the sole purpose of killing, whether for criminal or legal purposes. If weapons designed specifically to kill people (handguns, assault weapons, etc.) were outlawed, the fact that they could only be obtained illegally would make it far less likely that they would end up in the hands of children taking them to school to impress their friends, or that they could be stolen out of the homes or cars of those who purchase them legally. Too many innocent people are being killed by legally purchased guns for us to continue wrapping ourselves in the Constitution.
Drugs always have and always will appeal to people wishing to get high. As long as alcohol and tobacco are legal it is hypocritical and futile to attempt to legislate which drugs are acceptable and which are not. But it should not be acceptable to us as a society that children and innocent adults are dying daily because we are too concerned with our “right” to own guns to take real steps to end this insanity.