Plain Dealer LTEs: Guns in the wrongs hands - and the right ones

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has published several letters to the editor in response to its April 29 story entitled "Gun advocates: Statistics are inadequate" and to the continued discussion over the latest Ohio CHL-holder to defend his own life when attacked.

Getting to the source of delinquents' angst?

I see very little difference between the young criminal who was recently killed in Mount Pleasant and a young Palestinian in a video making his martyr statement, or a car bomber in Iraq. What we have operating, from Kinsman Road to Baghdad, is a culture of death. This culture has its own unique values and rituals. It is united in a glorification of martyrdom.

Everyone is debating who was right and who was wrong. Everyone is looking for someone to blame. What few are asking is what drives the young into a grim culture of guns, bullets, blood and bodies. That is the discussion I would like to hear.

Randy Cunningham

We hope Mr. Cunningham found the time to read the excellent discussion being led by Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett on this exact topic.

Click 'Read More' for other letters and brief rebuttal.

Regarding "Gun advocates: Statistics are inadequate" (Plain Dealer, Sunday):

I can testify only to my own experience. I have been living near East 55th Street and Broadway Avenue for the last 21 years, and have watched the neighborhood go from bad to worse. I received my concealed-carry permit 2½ years ago, about the same time that I bought a new car. A new car in this neighborhood is not uncommon, but it is always a prime target. Since receiving my permit, I have had no less than five potentially violent encounters that were cut short due to the plain-sight requirement in a motor vehicle. As I understand it, it is illegal for me to warn a potential perpetrator that I am armed or, in fact, to refer to my sidearm in any way. All I can do is make a split-second decision as to the justification for using deadly force. But while in my car, this was not a problem. It seems that merely the sight of a gun in a shoulder holster was enough to defuse these situations. I understand that I have been fortunate so far, and I dread the day when I would have to use deadly force to protect myself. I can even deal with the fact that I may very well lose. What I have trouble with is being a sitting duck.

Frank Lipnick

Though there were many reasons for which it was necessary to remove the plain sight carry mandate from Ohio law earlier this year, it would be prudent in light of Mr. Lipnick's commentary to remind Ohioans that the law does not now mandate that firearms be concealed inside the motor vehicle - carrying openly in a holster that is on the persons' person is still perfectly legal.

Stop influx of drugs, lessen violent crime

Surely we can all agree that the problem with thugs robbing and killing people arises from all the drugs that continue to find their way into our country. Unless and until we find a way to control this flow, these crimes are not going to cease. But if we do stop the drugs, that would dissolve the many reasons why innocent people are losing their lives.

Of course, it takes a village to raise a child - but when that child gets older and starts to kill off the villagers, it's time for residents to take back their communities and not be afraid to leave their homes.

Irene Kuralak
Parma Heights

Ms. Kuralak's letter provides a good reminder of how poorly our society is able to enforce bans. What makes anyone think a gun ban could work any better than the drug ban has?

On Monday, Jacob Cifelli, who murdered artists Masumi Hayashi and John Jackson, received two consecutive life terms without parole. Jailing him for life will probably cost Ohio taxpayers more than $1 million. It was sad to hear Hayashi's sister describe her loss and Cifelli's mother apologize for the actions of her son. There were no winners in this tragedy.

The judge mentioned that both Cifelli and Seung-Hui Cho of the Virginia Tech killings had used the same kind of gun. On my way home, I stopped at a gun store to see what the gun looked like. The pistol was a mere 6 inches long, weighing barely more than a pound. It came with two magazines, each with 19 shots. Why would anyone need such a gun, except to kill? The salesman said that, for just $499 plus tax, the gun could be mine if I could pass a quick background check.

An overwhelming majority of our population believes that semiautomatic weapons should be outlawed. Yet such guns are readily available. The only way to protect the innocent is to make certain that no one has access to these types of weapons. So write to Congress! Otherwise, with a few clicks on some unstable person's bad day, anyone can be murdered.

Linda Butler

I have some bad news for Ms. Butler - even before fireams were invented, "anyone" could be and was murdered "on some unstable person's bad day".

Additionally, Ms. Butler provides no source for her claim that "an overwhelming majority of our population believes that semiautomatic weapons should be outlawed".

Finally, as to her question about why anyone one would need a compact one pound gun with a 19 round magazine, I would refer her to one Damon Wells of Cleveland. Even aside from self-defense applications, Ms. Butler might just be interested to know how nice to go to the shooting range to enjoy ones hobby and actually get to spend more time target shooting instead of reloading low capacity magazines.

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