I am trying to understand one of the central arguments that people use to support their need to own firearms legally -- that they need to protect themselves from criminals who have obtained illegal firearms ["Gun advocates protest new laws," News, Jan. 20]. This attitude is captured by the phrase, if you take away guns from the good guys, only bad guys will have guns.
All firearms were purchased legally from licensed dealers after they were manufactured, so how do they become illegal firearms? They were either sold to criminals by the legitimate noncriminal owners, or in a small minority of cases, stolen from legitimate noncriminal owners.
Therefore, doesn't it follow that as the volume of firearms manufactured and sold legally increases dramatically year after year, the number of firearms that will be sold to or stolen by criminals will also increase dramatically?
Charles Akalski, West Babylon
Unlike in other matters, President Barack Obama acted very quickly and decisively on proffering his gun-control plan. Perhaps some children should write to the White House to ask the president to stop runaway spending and balance the budget. After all, it will be our kids whose adult lives will be negatively affected to pay for this oversized debt.
Don Karlsen, Famingdale
The government has a right and obligation to pass laws that ensure the safety and security of everyone. A recent letter to the editor mentioned that cars are a weapon as deadly as a bullet ["Gun limits are knee-jerk reactions," Jan. 21].
It's regrettable that cars do kill, but it would be much worse without government control. The state requires that we pass a driver's test and have a license to drive, our cars must be registered each year and inspected, and we need liability insurance should we damage another car or hurt someone. We also may take a defensive driver course every three years. This should also be the minimum requirement to own a gun.
When the Second Amendment was passed, the central government had about an 800-man army. The amendment's purpose was to give a balance of power to the states, stating that "a well regulated militia" is necessary to "the security of a free state" and "shall not be infringed." It's sad that some see the new New York State law as infringing on their rights ["Gun advocates protest new law," News, Jan. 20], but they are quick to distort the Second Amendment as the solution for protecting their rights.
George Fuchs, East Quogue
A perfect storm happened in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting ["LI schools on edge," News, Jan. 19]. Four key aspects came together: an insane young man raised on realistic violent video games, real-life access to the weapons featured in the video games, and a media that provides 15 minutes of fame and enduring infamy for those who commit a mass shooting. Take one of the four aspects off the table, and it's likely the nation would not even know the name Sandy Hook. It's when all four aspects come together that the nightmare happens.
We cannot outlaw violent video games; they would just go underground like Napster did with music sales. Nor can we outlaw media reporting of the mass shootings; the public has a right to know. This leaves preventing insane people accessing weapons with high-capacity magazines as the only viable option to stop the mass shootings. Bolt-action rifles and revolvers don't enter the equation. Grandpa's deer rifle isn't at issue, either, only the 9-mm Hi-Point 995 Carbine or the Bushmaster AR-15. These are weapons with high-capacity, box-mount magazines.
Both the pro-gun and no-gun lobbies need to compromise on this. The pro-gun lobby needs to accept licensing and training, while the no-gun lobby needs to accept mental health examinations.
Clint Brown, Stony Brook