This week's letters respond to the defeat of several gun-control measures last month in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Gun control is not the solution to the crime spree that has a death grip on Philadelphia. Criminals don't stand in line at gun stores, complete the paperwork required and succumb to the instant background check to secure the tools of their trade. They buy guns from friends and relatives.
Two measures are needed to stem the tide of violence. One is to impose a mandatory 10-year prison sentence on anyone who transfers a gun without possessing a federal firearms license. The other is to create a major incentive for people to make them think carefully before taking out that gun. Prison time is obviously not a deterrent compared to the easy money made selling drugs, carjacking expensive SUVs and robbing people.
It is time to institute extreme hard labor for all violent offenders. Make them do backbreaking, meaningless labor. Moving piles of rocks around will do for starters.
Ten years of that, without TV, radio or free education will send a clear signal that it is better to take one of those jobs that Americans will not do before sticking a gun in someone's face.
Outlaw some guns
I am opposed to gun ownership, but I have friends and family who hunt. Why not outlaw all guns that can be concealed?
You want a rifle to hunt or protect your property? Fine. (Though I think a nice family dog would work better.) If you alter the rifle, as in a sawed-off shotgun, you get an automatic sentence. Handguns confiscated by police are destroyed rather than sold to gun dealers.
Guns are too easy to get and much too easy to use. I would never have one because I know how easily I would shoot and ask questions later. You add a little rage and immaturity and you have a nightmare waiting to happen.
'One gun a month'
Based on the undisputable statistics, the existing legislation intended to protect Pennsylvanians from gun violence is not working, either because it's not enforceable or it's not realistic, or both.
The legislators who have introduced and supported new practical legislative ideas designed to curb the ease of access to guns by those who use guns for violent purposes should be commended for their courage and creativity.
Those legislators who have voted against these reforms and who have not introduced any ideas of their own - who believe the status quo is working - should reevaluate their role as public servants for their actions continue to hurt all Pennsylvanians.
The "one gun a month" legislation is logical, and any rational person can understand the need for this type of common-sense law as a way to prevent the straw purchase channels that put guns into the hands of criminals.
One way that might end the impasse on the "one gun a month" legislation is to allow only those who have current registered hunting licenses to purchase more than one gun a month. This will not infringe on the rights or strong traditions of the hunting sport celebrated by many Pennsylvanians.
Matthew P. Cabrey
Enforcement is key
I have lived in Philadelphia for all of my 44 years. Every day the news inundates me with reports of crimes committed with firearms. But I know, as sure as gravity makes things fall, that more gun-control laws will not reduce crime in this city. Criminals ignore laws, that's why they're criminals, and they will ignore new gun laws as they have the gun laws that already exist.
One-gun-a-month rationing will only victimize innocent citizens who want to protect themselves. Municipalities creating their own laws will turn Pennsylvania into an unmanageable checkerboard of with competing legislations.
Violent crime must be fought with stronger enforcement of the laws we have now and increased funding for our local and state police. But violent crime in our cities is ultimately a symptom of a much larger problem. Our leaders in public office and the private sector must work to create better schools and more job opportunities to combat the poverty and despair that leads to the blight and woe we suffer now. We as a society must also step up to the plate by forcing our leaders to truly commit to the people rather than take the easy way out with hopelessly ineffective laws.