The Tuc­son tragedy and gun con­trol

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

The Jan. 10 ed­i­to­rial “Car­nage in Ari­zona” noted that the toll of the shoot­ings in Ari­zona was ex­ac­er­bated by the use of high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines that can hold as many as 30 rounds. There is lit­tle or no dis­pute over the cur­rent ban on si­lencers and fully au­to­matic weapons be­cause they have no use in hunt­ing or self-de­fense. The same is true of high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines— hunters sim­ply do not use them. The use of these de­vices by the Vir­ginia Tech and Tuc­son shoot­ers demon­strates that high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines are used al­most ex­clu­sively to kill large num­bers of hu­man be­ings and they lack any im­por­tant or le­git­i­mate pur­pose.

Hope­fully, as a re­sult of this lat­est ou­trage, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Mi­nor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can come to­gether and jointly spon­sor a very limited bill pro­hibit­ing the man­u­fac­ture, im­por­ta­tion or sale of high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines other than for po­lice or mil­i­tary pur­poses. The in­tro­duc­tion of such a bill by both our Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic lead­ers would help en­sure that the in­ter­ests of gun man­u­fac­tur­ers do not run roughshod over our le­git­i­mate se­cu­rity in­ter­ests. Ad­di­tion­ally, state leg­is­la­tures should con­sider en­act­ing en­hanced penal­ties for the use in any crime of a high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zine.

Bruce N. Shul­man, Sil­ver Spring

Con­trary to the premise of Richard Co­hen’s col­umn [“Blame the guns,” op-ed, Jan. 11], guns do not kill peo­ple, peo­ple kill peo­ple.

Peo­ple can be, and have been, killed by many or­di­nary house­hold items — forks, but­ter knives, spoons, tooth­brushes, base­ball bats, elec­tri­cal cords, to men­tion a few. Yet I don’t see any­one say­ing they should be out­lawed. Mass deaths have been caused by air­planes, trains and au­to­mo­biles. Mr. Co­hen did not men­tion ban­ning any of these, ei­ther. His soap­box is very slip­pery.

Charles L. Schiff, Birm­ing­ham, Mich.

The Jan. 11 ed­i­to­rial “Get­ting con­trol of guns,” in which The Post once again ad­vo­cated con­trols on the con­sti­tu­tional right to bear arms, con­tained this sen­tence: “Rea­son­able gun con­trol is not un­con­sti­tu­tional.” If the sen­tence had said, “Rea­son­able press con­trol is not un­con­sti­tu­tional,” The Post’s editors would be apoplep­tic. I am an ad­vo­cate of gun con­trol, but I am more an ad­vo­cate of the Con­sti­tu­tion. If the Con­sti­tu­tion needs to be changed, get the sup­port nec­es­sary to amend it but please stop pre­tend­ing it doesn’t ex­ist.

Paul Tram­pert, Cen­tre­ville

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