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Gun Control: The Waiting-Period Debate

I disagree with the editorial ``Make People Wait for a Handgun,'' March 27. The Brady Bill, like the 20,000 other gun-control laws on the books in this country, will do nothing to slow violent crime. The causes of crime are much more profound than the mere availability of handguns. I have the right to defend myself from aggressors. I have that right today, right now, this very minute. What if I need a handgun to defend myself today? Should I have to wait seven days before I can exercise my right to defend myself?

Do you support seven-day waiting periods on other natural rights? Why not a seven-day waiting period on editorial writing to ensure that editors have all the facts before they form an opinion? If ``the pen is mightier than the sword,'' this would seem as logical as a waiting period on handguns.

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John Kell, Blacksburg, Va.

I believe in the rights of gun owners because I own a gun. Yet there is a definite need for handgun controls. Even a waiting period of seven to 10 days before receiving the gun will not harm anyone. It will only serve to protect the people living in America. Only good will come if the added handgun-control measures are enacted in the president's anticrime bill. Christopher Farkes, Overland Park, Kan.

The inherently exclusive and systematic disarmament of the law-abiding American populace is a terrible mistake. More than that, it is blatantly illegal. The militia is the citizenry. We are armed not only for our own self-defense, but for the maintenance of respect between ourselves as a whole and the government that must respect us. The law is plain. Any legislation currently on the books restricting the rights of private citizens to keep and bear arms should be brought before the Supreme Court and repealed. Outlawing guns is simply an illegal and destabilizing ``Band-Aid'' remedy for our deeper and neglected societal ills.

Charles W. DeArmond, Elsah, Ill.

I was the NRA. I quit the National Rifle Association because it has ceased to be an advocate for sportsmen and has become instead a strident lobbyist for the nation's gun manufacturers. I quit because the NRA values the lives of our law enforcement officials less than the paltry inconvenience of a seven-day waiting period and less than the need to buy Teflon-coated bullets, plastic handguns, and machine guns. I quit because few NRA members seemed to have read the Second Amendment in its entirety or to have understood it. I quit because the NRA's opposition to reasonable gun control is contributing to the arming of drug dealers, criminals, and inner-city youth gangs.

I quit because the NRA is becoming the National Redneck Association.

John MacDonald, Cherry Valley, N.Y.

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Desert Storm's values The opinion-page article ``The Values of Desert Storm,'' April 3, is a curious mix of values indeed. The only real value that derives from war is the realization that mankind must find another way of dealing with its disputes. It is a sad commentary on a superpower that it needs a war to ``[reawaken] in Americans a spirit of community.'' My guess is that the reawakening will be brief, as reflected in polls showing growing American doubts about the motives for the war.

The author quotes a history professor: ``In America, we just make the pie bigger, so nobody gets left out.'' What pie is this? American-Dream-Pie-in-the-Sky? It is doubtful that many poor inner-city dwellers believe they are not ``left out.''

F.D.H. (Bill) Fitzpatrick, Nanaimo, Canada

No UN `interference' Regarding the article ``United Nations Seeks to Nurture Independent Press in Africa,'' March 27: I am in total disagreement with this UN interference. This is a domestic matter which the people of Africa should settle by themselves.

If the people of Africa want to organize and fund a seminar to develop an independent press, let them do so. As for the $75,000 the UN agencies were going to donate for the seminar, why not put it to better use? I am sure the starving people in the poorer countries of Africa can find something better to do with it.

David Berry, Cypress Inn, Tenn.

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