To the editor: In emotionally selling his plan Tuesday to boost background checks in firearm sales, President Obama tried to inject a minimum of common sense into our country's bare-bones gun regulations. Of course, the Republicans reacted with outrage and exaggerations. ("An emotional Obama outlines his plan to fight gun violence," Jan. 5)
Never mind that we place far more controls on operating cars — devices designed for transportation that can be dangerous in the wrong circumstances — than we do on owning guns, which are made specifically to kill.
The National Rifle Assn. has Congress in its pocket, so nothing is done legislatively, and the killings continue. Small wonder the president was brought to tears.
Nick Duretta, Pasadena
To the editor: What about the basic issue of separation of powers?
In this country we have three branches of government. The legislature makes law, the executive enforces law and the judiciary interprets the law. However you read his order on background checks, the president is either explaining or interpreting the law, neither of which he has any authority to do.
Whether Obama's expansion or explanation of the law is good or bad is not the point. He has no authority to do either.
Kevin Minihan, Los Angeles
To the editor: Everyone has an opinion about gun control, but I'd be willing to bet a lot of money that few people have actually read the 2nd Amendment, much less actually thought at all about its true meaning.
It says: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Nowhere does it give every Tom, Dick and Henrietta — with no training or discipline or check and balance of any kind — the right to blithely go out and acquire unlimited weapons, particularly weapons that didn't even exist when the Constitution was written.
We live in a world gone mad. This gun pandemic — based on a gross misinterpretation of the Constitution that somehow has survived challenges in the courts and has zero basis in law or reality even to a layman like me — is the most egregious example.
Richard Spring, Redondo Beach
To the editor: Good-thinking people on both sides of the gun-control question share the feelings exhibited by our president and all have shed the same tears out of frustration at our leaders' inability to bring forth a solution as readily as the tears.
Tears might show the president's humanity, but they do not bring us any closer to resolution, which would take real work, negotiation and compromise. These are items in short supply in Congress and the executive branch of our government.
Robert D. Robinson, Azusa
To the editor: To those who are questioning or criticizing Obama's tearful recollection of the slaughter of 20 elementary school students in their classrooms, I ask this question:
Are you not similarly moved and disturbed by this egregious abuse of firearms?
Art Verity, Sherman Oaks