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Letters: Secure schools, change gun laws

President Barack Obama speaks during an announcement on

President Barack Obama speaks during an announcement on gun reform as Vice President Joseph Biden listens. (Dec. 19, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

The real question Americans must ask themselves is what proactive measures are we prepared to take to at least reduce the likelihood of a replay of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. ["Obama vow: We'll act in Jan.," News, Dec. 20]?

If in the wake of this horrific occurrence, communities are prepared to invest in security, and not the "security theater" we see largely at work in most schools, they should consider these measures.

Schools should employ an armed off-duty or retired cop or other peace officer. This person's duties must be limited to ultimate security, not to breaking up fights or making drug or disorderly conduct arrests. Larger buildings may require more than one officer.

If citizens are prepared to purchase that peace of mind with the full understanding that the likelihood of an actual attack on any particular school is incredibly remote, than it is a good investment for that community.

Michael J. Butler, Greenport

Editor's note: The writer is a retired Nassau County police captain, an attorney, and a former intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army Security Agency and the FBI.

Regarding the letter that says there are two kinds of gun-control advocates -- those who are well-meaning but irrational, and those who would arm only the government ["Security, weaponry, sanity," Dec. 18] -- the writer ignores a third group, which I believe is the largest, and maybe a majority of citizens.

That group understands Second Amendment rights and the sports of hunting and target-shooting. It understands that people want to feel protected. That group doesn't want to prevent people from owning guns, it just wants people to be rational about it.

An assault rifle is not about sport or protection. An assault rifle's purpose is to allow its wielder to do the maximum amount of damage.

If a person wants to own, what is wrong with having him or her submit to a thorough check? Would Nancy Lanza have been allowed to own assault rifles if her son's history had been known?

This third group also wants gun safety to be brought to the fore. What about technology that makes a gun unusable except by its legal owner? What about requiring that guns be locked up to inhibit unauthorized use?

Yes, there is a third group, and I count myself among them. I hope this time we will prevail over those who want their guns at any cost, and the reactionary extreme that thinks guns are inherently evil.

Scott Diamond, Levittown