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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Citing mental illness is a cop-out. Ban assault weapons now

Assault weapons, hand guns
Assault weapons and handguns for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield, Ill.
(Seth Perlman / Associated Press)

To the editor: President Trump mentioned mental illness as one of the main causes of mass shootings. That would be fine if true, but does mental illness show up on a gun purchaser’s background check?

I think the president knows what the problem is. We must reinstate the assault weapons ban that was originally written by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and enacted into law in 1994. That law expired in 2004 and was not extended. What other weapons can kill 20 or 30 human beings in one minute?

The president needs to advocate for the ban without regard for the innocent citizens who say they need assault rifles for sport and hunting. To do this, he must break the ties he has with the National Rifle Assn. by choosing life over the interests of politicians. He can start by returning donations made by the NRA and at last be looked upon as a leader.

Diana Strain, La Mesa

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To the editor: The tragic events in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton have resulted in a lot of political rhetoric, unfortunately at the wrong moment, for more gun control. Some have not wasted any time in assigning blame on Trump.

That is regrettable because it will not do anything for the healing this nation needs. This is the same technique used by right-wing extremists during the last administration when police officers were killed and President Obama was accused of having blood on his hands.

Furthermore, guns have not been the only instrument used to commit horrendous crimes, but they are the only ones identified as needing to be banned. Ammonium nitrate fertilizer, pressure cookers, trucks, machetes and knives have been used in a number of horrifying massacres, and we don’t hear any politician trying to ban them.

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The problem is not the instrument used to commit those crimes, but people who are full of hate.

Raul De Cardenas, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The 1st Amendment establishes the right of the people to assemble peacefully. That statement is laudable and reassuring until we read, in the Second Amendment, that “the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The devastating massacres have made it clear that the imbalance created by the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment renders the assurance of the 1st Amendment essentially meaningless.

Rights need to be set in balance, one against the other; otherwise we end up in the chaos and fear where we now find ourselves. The obvious solution is to fit both amendments within the larger context of the common good, where no side has a preponderance of power and all people can go about their daily lives without fear.

Peter A. O’Reilly, Redondo Beach

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To the editor: Gun control will never stop terrorists. The real cause is the lack of security. Paid guards will not risk their lives to stop the killers.

The answer, as shown in Israel, is that only military men trained to stop armed attackers and placed wherever crowds congregate can end the epidemic of mass shootings.

Call out the military, Mr. President.

Philip Springer, Pacific Palisades


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