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Readers React: I like guns, but ‘gun culture’ has grown paranoid and dangerous since the 1970s

Rifles sit on display and for sale at a gun store in Aurora, Colo., in 2013.
Rifles sit on display and for sale at a gun store in Aurora, Colo., in 2013.
(Ed Andrieski / AP)

To the editor: After the Florida mass shooting, some people say it isn’t guns that are at fault, but rather our culture. I agree, to some extent. I believe it is a cultural change that is to blame — the “gun culture.” I say this because I am part of it. (“Here’s a morbid exercise: Can you keep track of which school shooting was the last before Parkland?” editorial, Feb 14)

I grew up shooting. I still love firing old muskets, and my home is “protected.” I agree with the right to bear arms for home protection or sport, but I have watched the gun culture morph into an ugly monster over the last 40 years.

In the 1970s, my stepfather’s gun store had mostly rifles and shotguns, and the wall posters emphasized hunting and camping. The store offered what our customers wanted.

Today, you go into many stores and the difference is profound and ominous. The stores resemble modern military arsenals. Posters on the walls advertise the tactical features of the latest military-style weapons and carry messages of paranoia and fear.

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If gun owners want to protect the 2nd Amendment, they would do well to examine what has happened to their own culture.

Mitch Faris, Orange

..

To the editor: As usual, you want stricter gun-control laws. My suspicion is that you really want every gun in this country to be completely eliminated from society, something that will never happen. Guns are here to stay.

There are many reasons why these mostly young men go on a murder spree, and it has to do with our entire culture being geared toward violent behavior. The impotent rage you mention in your editorial is the beginning of violence itself.

Americans have always had plenty of guns at their disposal. The real question is why are these mass shootings happening now? Maybe it’s because today’s society is overloaded with violent images in the media, in video games, on the internet and just about everywhere we turn.

It’s our people who have become defective, and no amount of gun control will prevent someone from causing mayhem and murder on a grand scale if that person has made up his mind to kill people.

Charles Reilly, Manhattan Beach

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