To the editor: Everyone is talking about how to control guns to "prevent gun violence"— that is, how to restrict access to guns and prevent bad guys and mentally ill people from getting weapons. All these efforts do is restrict access to legal guns for law-abiding people who seek only to protect themselves and their families. ("With gun epidemic raging, Obama finally bypasses Congress," editorial, Jan. 5)
All of this emphasis is on the implement — the guns. What is rarely mentioned by people advocating policies like the ones supported by President Obama is the control of violence with guns. They do not discuss the behavior of the persons carrying out this violence or of the consequences that society should demand from people who commit crimes using guns.
When Cook County, Ill., (where the largest city is Chicago) sends a gun offender to prison for an average of about six months and returns them to the streets, are our priorities in order? With theft of a gun and unlawful possession of a firearm both misdemeanors in California, what are we saying about our priorities?
Do we care more about lawful purchase of a gun by law-abiding citizens or holding violent people responsible for their behavior?
Robert Braley, Bakersfield
To the editor: Even in the framework of previous unconstitutional positions that The Times has taken, this one is astounding.
The Times is advocating that Obama bypass the Constitution and bypass Congress to make and expand laws because Congress isn't doing what he says he wants. Maybe some hope that The Times is closed without due process of law. After all, some people sure regard its headlines as occasionally akin to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.
The Times blames the National Rifle Assn. for having lawmakers in its iron grip. Can 5 million members have such a grip? Of course not. But the many millions more who are not members but support the NRA have Congress in their grip, as well they should.
Which freedom that you might not support is next?
Steve Hawes, Sunland
To the editor: Americans have a variety of solutions for every social problem they face that are based on everyone's personal values. At the top of their value scale is human life.
However, for some there are good humans but also bad humans. Therefore we need guns to defend ourselves. Yet the evidence shows we are killing too many good humans.
Obama has proposed a few modest controls for gun ownership, and House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) response was, "His words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty."
Preserving human life versus preserving gun liberty: Those are incredible value differences.
David N. Hartman, Santa Ana
To the editor: Obama stated that he wants an increase in funding for research into gun use and gun deaths.
An important part of this research should be an investigation into the psychology of why many Americans are so desperate to own a device with which to kill other Americans.
Zena Thorpe, Chatsworth
To the editor: Even in the face of murdered children, moviegoers and shoppers, Congress chooses to placate its NRA overlords. Our president has the courage and compassion to say, "Enough."
Thank you, President Obama.
Suzanna Bortz, Laguna Niguel