Repeal Second Amendment

After reading the National Rifle Association proposal to turn our schools into armed forts, and all the discussion about gun control and constitutional rights since the tragedy caused by a gunman in Connecticut, I have not heard one politician recommend repealing the Second Amendment ("In wake of Newtown, a misfire from the NRA," Wednesday).

The Second Amendment was written by 18th-century men for an 18th-century world, at a time when men feared the power of kings to disarm them and take away their rights. That world does not exist anymore and neither does our need to arm ourselves against our government. Those who stand behind an outdated idea that allows people to be armed as if they are going to war are simply wrong and put many people at risk of being shot to death.

The Constitution was written to be changed as needed, when circumstances in the nation changed and old ideas did not make sense anymore. What we need now are politicians and citizens with the courage to speak out and push for change. The time is now to give our elected representatives the means to pass gun-control laws that will protect all of us and allow sportsmen and hunters to pursue their interest, but will not allow people to be armed to the teeth for no good reason.

Edward Collins, Philadelphia

Ban all semiautomatic firearms

A letter calls for "simple" gun legislation ("Keep gun bills simple, focused," Wednesday). Is this simple enough? Ban all semiautomatic firearms in private hands. Period.

Semiautomatic technology, the ability to fire repeated rounds as quickly as the trigger can be pulled, applies to both long guns and handguns and is not necessary for either personal protection or for hunting. Automatic weapons are already banned, a restriction that is not seen as violating the Second Amendment. Therefore, drawing the line somewhere below semiautomatic weapons would not be a violation either.

Six-round revolvers should be perfectly adequate for personal protection and bolt-action hunting rifles are capable of bringing down any prey. Society should not be held captive by hunters wanting the convenience of not having to manually eject each shot, or the paranoid citizen who lives in fear of being confronted by an armed mob.

Such legislation would not eliminate gun violence (no law eliminates crime), but, over time, through enforcement and attrition, we may be able to join the rest of the civilized world, where gun atrocities are a rare abomination, not an accepted consequence of an obsession with killing machines.

Ray Harper, Swarthmore

More guns is not the answer

I cannot, with good conscience, stay quiet any longer. The rage, too hot. The disgust, too much. The sadness, unbearable. Isn't it clear that an ever-escalating proliferation of guns is not the answer? Is it not outrageous that guns flew off the shelf faster since this horrific incident?

Our children are the most precious gift and hope our future has. If the NRA had its way, our children would be learning a lesson of mistrust, violence, self-centeredness, and isolation. And our cowardly elected officials seem more interested in securing precious votes from this warped lobby than in protecting the lives of our children. Shame on them. Shame on us if we stay silent.

If you are as angry as I am, speak up. Make your voice heard and demand that we address the issue of access to assault weapons immediately and with common sense. The answer is not "good people with guns" as the NRA suggests. It is fewer guns in the first place. We need to de-escalate. We need to do all that is possible to reduce the chance of this happening again. One less gun is a step in the right direction.

It should be impossible to look ourselves in the mirror until we know that all possible regulations have been implemented.

J.B, Hillman, president, board of trustees, Main Line Unitarian Church

Address mental-health issues

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Oregon, and now Newtown. There is one common denominator: the shooters were all mentally unstable.

A reduction in gun violence will not take place unless the mental-health issues are fully addressed.

What is needed is better screening, more emphasis on treatment and prevention, and modification of the privacy laws so that an appropriate intervention can take place before a tragedy happens.

Aaron Freedland, Philadelphia

Other victims to remember

Now that we have had time to mourn the deaths of the 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, let's take a moment to think about the more than one million unborn children who are murdered every year in the United States by abortion. Perhaps it's some consolation that they didn't have to look their killer in the eye or look down the muzzle of his gun.

Michael E. Bail, Norristown, michaelbail@me.com