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Letters: How to prevent mass murder

A man fires a handgun at Sandy Springs

A man fires a handgun at Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range in Sandy Springs, Ga., on Jan. 4, 2013. Credit: AP

Newsday's cover page on Sunday should have read, "What 807 out of 2.8 million on LI think about guns" ["What LI thinks about guns," News, Jan. 13]. How could this possibly be an accurate representation of what Long Island thinks about guns? How many hunters, firearms enthusiasts, recreational shooters and licensed handgun owners who live on Long Island were included in your survey? Not many, I bet.

Stephen Gollinge, Lindenhurst

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo should be commended for submitting a plan to give New York State the toughest gun-control laws in the nation ["NY near pact on guns," News, Jan. 13].

One part of the plan requires mental stability for people applying for gun permits. Will that be retroactive? How will that be implemented? Who will assess the mental stability of applicants? It seems that it would have to be a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.

The governor's plan is a definite step in the right direction.

Joe Margolis, Westbury

Why is it that people speak about supporting the Second Amendment, yet all of the proposed legislation is to curb some ability of the regular citizen to own and carry a gun for protection? Everyone says he or she is worried about criminals or someone who goes over the edge, yet I never see any legislation directed toward protecting the rights of the regular citizen.

Who is going to introduce legislation that will preserve the rights of the regular citizen and make sure they are not further infringed?

Thomas Caro, Levittown

Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech, Jared Lee Loughner in Arizona, and James Eagan Holmes in Colorado were all seriously mentally ill and known to authorities. Yet there is little mention that many mentally ill people are present among us because we closed most mental hospitals years ago.

Now, it is nearly impossible to institutionalize dangerously ill people until they commit a brutal act.

I am much more afraid of the mentally ill person at the subway station, or one with a gun with even only one bullet, than I am of a responsible sportsman with an AR-15.

Richard H. Staudt, Mount Sinai

As a psychiatrist and father, my condolences are with all those affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. The resulting national conversation about mental health should focus on how to make treatments more accessible and effective.

I believe the answer is more support for research. Until recently, medical science believed that older brains could not grow new cells; research has now shown that they can.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has seen exciting discoveries and advances, as we have funded 4,000 grants over 25 years. In this era of flourishing neuroscience, we are forging a path toward cures and prevention for mental illness.

Today, just a small percentage of federal and private spending supports brain research. We must invest as a nation to improve outcomes and prevent tragedies.

Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, Great Neck

Editor's note: The writer is the acting chief executive of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.