- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 12, 2000

Regarding your March 4 editorial, "Two sides of the gun issue," does A.D. Parker, who you say used a gun to defend himself, have a grandchild? Do you suppose that at any time during Mr. Parker's 83 years he was ever suicidally depressed or out-of-control angry at a spouse of other family member?

Undoubtedly, the answer to at least one of these questions is yes. If so, a loaded, unlocked handgun under his bed could have resulted in tragedy.

Ask yourself this one question: What is more likely in the average person's life that he will encounter an armed intruder in his home more intent on doing him harm than stealing his TV set, or that a loaded handgun at the ready over an entire life span will be used intentionally or accidentally to harm a family member or other innocent victim?

You are not thinking clearly.

JEFF MAGENAU

Washington

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Thank you for finally expressing in a mainstream publication what is, for those of us interested in firearms, the rest of the story.

I am a 46-year-old man who might have been labeled as socially and politically liberal for most of my life. I have only recently become interested in firearms, both as sport and as a form of self-defense.

Imagine my chagrin to find myself now suddenly becoming an ally of traditionally regarded conservative voters and politicians, and attempting to defend my newfound interest to liberal friends and colleagues.

Appealing to the Bill of Rights doesn't work: Although liberals staunchly defend the First Amendment, they quickly divorce themselves from the Second. I used to support the American Civil Liberties Union. After all, it supports the Bill of Rights, no? Well, apparently only those amendments considered politically correct.

Do you recall the last time the ACLU took up the cause of defending someone involved in litigation over the Second Amendment? I sure don't.

Referring to the countless times firearms are used daily in self-defense also doesn't work; the mainstream news media typically publish only those instances in which firearms are used by the bad guys.

A last-resort appeal to common sense fails, as well. Why felons and felons-to-be for whom rape, murder, robbery, carjacking, home invasion, etc., seem like reasonable options will suddenly be deterred by gun control statutes is beyond my comprehension.

According to published reports, the poor child in the Michigan case was essentially being raised by felons. Do you think these people would have respected trigger-lock legislation, while already living a life involving robbery and illegal drug use and selling?

And yet I today observed President Clinton (who I am now ashamed to say I once vociferously supported) in a televised news conference make the appeal that trigger locks would have prevented this tragedy and, further, that he was inviting the mother of the murdered girl to the White House. What an obvious political opportunist.

Am I to believe that I, and others like me, while once socially responsible, contributing members to society, are now to be regarded as dangerous merely because I choose to own a firearm? Please excuse me while I change my political party affiliation.

DENIS AUSTIN

San Diego

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Your editorial, "Two sides of the gun issue," rationally articulates how the so-called gun control measures being touted by President Clinton and his followers would do nothing to prevent the tragedies that had occurred in Michigan and Pennsylvania this past week.

Mr. Clinton and his cronies, however, have no use for reason and logic when it comes to advancing their political agenda of tightening the knot of the federal government around the necks of decent, hard-working, law-abiding citizens the overwhelming majority of Americans.

Clinton and his legions of liberals have no shame when it comes to using tragedy to demonize anyone who disagrees with their desire to stay in power at all cost. They really don't care about real problems and real people, they just care about themselves.

Many of us are so frustrated with this crowd that we're beside ourselves. Thank goodness for The Washington Times. You help us to keep our sanity.

JOHN F. McCARTHY

Rockville

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