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Government firepower

EDITOR: With one killing incident after another, I think it's time to take a close look at the demented people who do this stuff. Do we need protection from guns or insane people? Disarm this country? I don't think so. I don't want to be at the wrong end of one of these incidents with a slingshot.

The Second Amendment is about us protecting our country from a tyrannical government. Let's see, the Department of Homeland Security decides to raid a house in Petaluma. It shows up with a tank, several dozen amateur cops, grenades, automatic weapons and dogs. And we are supposed to try and stop them with a .22 bolt action? They also have drones, night vision equipment, helicopters, machine guns and 450 million rounds of hollow-point ammo. Who doesn't stand a chance here?

DAVID HAYNES

Santa Rosa

Gun violence

EDITOR: Your editorial regarding guns, safety and violence ("Reasonable steps to limit gunfire deaths," Dec. 29) was dead center. You should repeat it once a week until real action is taken.

The gun lobby is so intent on cashing in on shooting tragedies. They reap huge profits from the sales of guns and ammunition. They only want answers that sell more guns and ammo — and expand the chances for tragedy.

I'd have been impressed if the gun lobby had responded to the Littleton, Colo. or Newtown, Conn. massacres with compensation to the families of the victims. No way, of course. They just point at the killers: "All their fault." The hard truth is that the killers didn't use marshmallows or toothpicks.

I hope Adam Lanza's mom had a few seconds to regret how foolish she was to give him access to an arsenal — even knowing only the tip of the tragedy.

JACK RANNELLS

Calistoga

Regulating guns

EDITOR: The subject of gun control is very simple. When the Constitution was adopted, "guns" were only muzzle-loading flintlocks. Any subsequent development doesn't fit that description and should be regulated. They should be treated like cars — registered and licensed and renewed every year. Like a car, they should have a paper trail through their existence. In this way, people who want muzzle-loaders can own as many as they want. Anything else would be regulated and licensed. As a gun owner, I consider this plan the most able to prevent inappropriate use.

STEPHEN BARR

Santa Rosa

Guns and the 1 percent

EDITOR: A real solution to violence in our society will come when the upper elite are subjected to regulations before the working classes are. I cannot believe that anyone who claims to care about the concept of the 99 percent would want to pass restrictions that would affect many working class, rural and middle class workers before we get concessions from the 1 percent. Just as we expect top earners to pay more before the rest of us see cuts from budget negotiations, we should expect the powerful to be restricted before common citizens are.

Before a single restriction on gun ownership is even debated, we need more spending on services to reduce crime, more restrictions on media violence, more transparency and access to courts to hold elites accountable and more transparency and prosecution of Wall Street crimes.

When society can be honest enough to recognize these are the underlying factors driving gun ownership, then and only then can we have a reasonable and intelligent discussion about restricting the gun rights of working people.

JASON JOEL MURPHY

Petaluma

Enforcing gun laws

EDITOR: In response to those wanting more gun control laws so it might be more difficult for the mentally disturbed to get a gun, there are already more than 17,000 laws on the books in America that relate to guns. Hundreds of those laws prohibit access by those having been diagnosed with mental disorders and prohibiting those who just suspect that a person is not behaving in a sociable manner from giving access.

The problem is not a lack of laws but an unwillingness of the courts to uphold the laws that are already in effect. We need to get past our reluctance to force those who have shown anti-social behavior to get professional help and, if needed, put them in an institution. That would stop the violence before it starts.

Guns aren't the problem. No gun in the history of the world ever got up in the morning, had a cup of coffee and decided to go out and hurt someone. Unstable people do that. Let's start enforcing the laws that exist instead of further limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens. Laws only limit those of us who obey the law, not those who ignore it.

RICK BARR

Santa Rosa