Letters to Plain Dealer editor continue to pour in

Last week, Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett wrote that she had received more than 400 letters in response to a column defending a concealed handgun license-holder who was forced to shoot a 15 year-old armed robber.

The Plain Dealer published a few of those letters along with Brett's column. Two days later, on Sunday, April 29, many more letters on the subject were published. While Brett's ratio was approximately 20 to 1 in favor on gun rights and armed self-defense, the ratio of letters the newspaper chose to publish? A nice, neat, 50-50 split...

Click 'Read More' to read the letters, headlined in the Plain Dealer as 'A friendly exchange over guns, self-defense'.

April 29, 2007
A friendly exchange over guns, self-defense

Fewer firearms, not more

Regarding "The legal gun won this fight" (Forum, Wednesday):

Our society, in spite of its regard for freedom, justice, morality and the preciousness of life, is being told by Kevin O'Brien and others that law-abiding citizens should defend themselves against criminals by being prepared to shoot them.

Is this their best plan? We've given up on our laws? Law enforcement? Education? Parenting? If our leaders believe these societal approaches to handgun killings are for sissies, woe is us. We'll soon be a big Dodge City from sea to shining sea.

More handguns is not the answer.

If millions of Americans decide to buy a handgun, you can be certain that criminals will get bigger guns that will continue to give them the "edge." This process is simple "weapons escalation." History knows the term well. In time, maybe the average American would be buying a do-it-yourself machine gun nest for the front yard. Just to keep up.

Proposing more handguns for Americans is frighteningly irrational and void of any appreciation for the value of human life.

Paul Hancy

Look for everyone to be packin'

John Caniglia's article on Thursday about people who see fit to carry concealed guns was chilling. So this is where society may be headed. The day may be coming when I will have to look at my neighbor with suspicion (there are those who may argue that I should have been all along).

On the other hand, I am told that people carrying concealed weapons are good people protecting themselves from bad people. To which I respond that good people can easily turn into bad people.

The concept that law enforcement officials will protect good people from bad people apparently is a thing of the past. Next on the agenda: an arms race. If I am going to protect myself from you, I need a better gun than you have.

Tony Rugare

Our constitutional right

Five days after the murder of 32 students and faculty members at Virginia Tech, I bought a handgun.

I'm not a member of a militia, nor will I be joining one. The Founding Fathers knew that if a militia were needed for the security of the nation, then an armed citizenry would be necessary to fill its ranks.

A militia is a possibility, not a demand, of the Second Amendment. Owning a gun is not contingent on being in a militia, but being in a militia would require a gun. A militia could be organized from the ground up and might even be independent of the government if that is where the threat was coming from.

Most people fail to realize that the Constitution is not a document that spells out all of our rights. It would be many times longer if it did. Its purpose is to put strict limits on the government.

Thomas Jefferson believed that a violent revolution would be necessary about every 25 years in order to toss out a corrupted government that became our master instead of being our servant. Hence the need for a militia. It's a wonder we've gone more than two centuries without having to do that.

Wayne Stovcik

Citizen Militia

The framers of our Constitution did not foresee politically correct technicalities when they wrote about the "right to bear arms."

"Arms" may be interpreted as loosely as spears or box-cutters, but to insinuate that our forefathers meant we should strap cruise missiles and aircraft carriers to our bodies is absurd.

Modern times require rules. But we should remember history. Our citizen militia could not have conquered a hostile land without its members' private weapons, used both to hunt for food and to defend. If the colonial Minutemen had not owned arms, we would be jingling shillings in our pockets today.

All across this great land, it was citizens who bore the brunt of French, Spanish and Mexican incursions, as well as braving outlaws and Indians.

To those who tend to put a twist upon words, remember it is people - not guns - that kill.

Harry A. Shelman

False sense of security

There are more than 200 million firearms in the United States. Every day, 32 people are killed with a gun. Each of those victims is survived by family, friends and communities.

For those believing that armed students and teachers would have improved the situation at Virginia Tech, we must ask how we could recognize the shooter if everyone had a gun in his or her hand? Seung-Hui Cho moved about campus and to the post office between shootings without alarming anyone.

We have long suffered from a false sense of security about how easy it is to purchase guns and ammunition. We have a choice: Ignore it and experience these types of massacres over and over again, or accept our shared responsibility to end all forms of violence.

Toby Hoover

Hoover is executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence (www.ohioceasefire.org).

Stricter gun laws aren't the solution

Many of the letters to the editor about the Virginia Tech shooting last Sunday lack understanding. As a veteran and target shooter for 40 years, let me offer a qualified opinion.

David Pomerantz says semi-automatic weapons are designed only for killing. Like any other weapon, they can kill, but the peaceful use of these guns outshines the violent. Millions of target shooters and police use them, and millions more civilians rely on them for protection. One well-aimed shot from one such firearm could have stopped the rampage.

Patrick Coburn thinks it's stupid to consider that an armed person, poorly trained, would have mattered. Would he rather live or die in that situation? Wouldn't he want a legally armed veteran, policeman or target shooter to intervene as the bullets crept closer to him?

Phyllis and Alan Wolk think clips and bullets should be banned, but there are millions of reloading devices and countless millions of bullets, casings and primers waiting to be loaded in the homes of law-abiding Americans.

America is armed and will stay that way. Tougher gun laws will not improve poor enforcement or society's reluctance to "profile" obvious mental cases. Law-abiding citizens respect gun laws; criminals break them.

Remember, to be forewarned is to be forearmed!

Dave Lanara

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