Safety locks for weapons

One simple law to which the National Rifle Association cannot object is a safety lock on guns that would prevent anyone other than the registered owner from using them. Since the guns used in Newtown were registered to the gunman's mother, a lock could have prevented this tragedy.

Linda Maccariella, Philadelphia

Alarm systems for schools

Every school should have every door and window connected to an alarm system. There are systems available that provide a very loud, ear-piercing sound, loud enough to scare off the most hardened of criminals. In addition, these systems can be connected to the local police dispatcher and, in the event an alarm was tripped, the police can be on their way in minutes.

Bill Lee, Ocean View, Del.

Gun discussion long overdue

If this is not the time for a serious discussion about significant gun control, we can declare the nation officially morally bankrupt. This discussion is long overdue, not just for the tragedies that grab the headlines, such as the tragedy in Connecticut, but for those thousands of individuals who are murdered every year with guns.

Nick Claxton, Erdenheim

Mental health is the issue

President Obama's words at the memorial were in part obscured when he spoke in terms of "evil." Evil is not the issue. Mental health is the issue - both individual and collective. With community mental-health funding slashed and access increasingly difficult, when even educated people are ignorant of the ABCs of the problem, there is no time to waste words about evil.

As for collective mental health, the destructive obsession with guns and gun play at home and drones abroad is enough to systematically encourage individuals to treat real people and real situations like a game of "Grand Theft Auto." Now is the time to act to promote mental-health awareness and action by making access to service ubiquitous and affordable. Now is also the time to have a national discussion about access to guns in general and assault weapons in particular and muster the political will to bring our country in line with laws and practices that reflect the needs of the vast majority of our citizens.

David Kutzik, professor of sociology, Drexel University, Philadelphia,

Put blame where it belongs

Every measure taken by the government to protect the children in Newtown failed: locked doors, a gun-free zone, the police, the mental-health system, alarms, and unarmed confrontation. Blaming guns diverts from the real problems of controlling the violent mentally ill, and having armed trained administrators in the school.

We ban firearms from schools and create a situation of helplessness that attracts killers. They know in advance that no one can oppose them.

We need better mental-health laws that allow more control in treating people. And, as a last resort, we need to have armed and trained administrators in the school. If the principal who confronted the killer in Newtown had been trained and armed, all those children would be alive.

As long as we blame the firearm, and don't hold the person responsible, these disasters will continue.

Robert Hafetz, Warrington