No place for assault weapons

We are shocked that a former prosecutor would advocate that the staff of a school be armed ("Contemptible exploitation," Thursday). Does George Parry expect education students to also study Firearms 101, as well as their regular education courses? In addition to school supplies for our young, impressionable children, does Parry think that firearms and bullets should routinely be given to the teachers, secretaries, nurses, and principals? What is next? Arm the children?

Our forefathers who wrote the Constitution could not have foreseen that assault weapons would become part of our culture. They have no place in our society and should be banned.

Edith and Harold Davis, Glen Mills

Vile and repellent commentary

George Parry could have attempted an explanation of why he believes that assault weapons and large magazines should remain legal. He could have tried to explain why the gun-show loophole should remain open, and why people should not have to report stolen guns. But that was evidently too difficult.

What was easy, instead, was simply to attack "certain progressive politicians and their reliable amen corner." Parry does not bother to name any of these people, but he assures us that they are contemptible, cynical, and "cold-bloodedly" exploiting the Newtown tragedy.

Parry's commentary is vile and repellent.

Michael Mannella, Philadelphia, memannella@yahoo.com

Citizens rise up, take action

There could barely be a more thoughtless and hard-hearted response to the Sandy Hook tragedy than George Parry's commentary. He questions the motives of those who have been brought together, in shock and sadness, to somehow deal with the problem of gun violence. His response, instead, is that any law that restricts guns will probably just make things worse.

I agree that the causes of our plague of gun violence are complex, having as much to do with culture and attitudes as with law, but it is long past time to reject the argument that nothing can be done. Americans always face challenges head-on, and this will be no exception. Against this challenge, this time, we will do something. That is not, as Parry claims, "exploiting" Sandy Hook; it is rising up as citizens to take action.

Steven D. Rubin, Philadelphia

Keep gun bills simple, focused

As an NRA member and hunter, I would support a ban on high-capacity semiautomatic weapons, background checks at gun shows, and mental-health checks ("State gun laws are too weak," Thursday). But I and other gun owners fear that President Obama's commission and other gun-control advocates would load up any bill with further limitations that would guarantee opposition from almost all gun owners. In the 1990s, when New Jersey banned certain weapons, the legislature's definition of an "assault rifle" originally included Revolutionary War era flintlock muskets because they had a bayonet attachment. Please, keep any bills simple and focused.

Kevin McGonigal, Moorestown, kevikens@hotmail.com