I appreciate [Claude] Werner’s [Jan. 16 letter in] response to my Jan. 9 [guest] editorial in which I called for reasonable restrictions on military-style assault weapons.
Many readers applaud my views, and some, like Mr. Werner, strongly disagree with them. I appreciate them all, and have had interesting discussions with supporters and detractors alike. I have also listened carefully to what my opponents are saying.
Some say it is wrong to demonize gun owners. I could not agree more. I am a gun owner myself and have been all my life. In fact, I would not support a total ban on firearms even if that were possible in the U.S. Most legal gun owners are outstanding citizens who grieve deeply when children are massacred. To blame them is certainly unfair, and nothing I wrote does so.
Others say I do not understand the nature of violence or the role of government. I do realize that if there were no guns, evil people would still kill — it has always been so. I also know that in the wrong hands, cars, appliances and even toys kill, too. True enough, but automobiles have numerous safety restrictions, and toys are regularly recalled if children are harmed. Are even the most extreme weapons somehow exempt from this?
The government’s role is clear: it should work vigorously to reduce violence in all forms. Mr. Werner correctly points out, for example, that the greatest killers of adolescents are motor vehicles, and asks, “Must Congress and the president take a stand on the leading cause of deaths for teens in this country?” I think that is a splendid idea: they should indeed take a stand to reduce deaths on the roads just as they should on gun violence or any issue where public safety is at stake.
My position is neither extreme nor unreasonable. It is, in fact, the position of most citizens and of the president of the United States. I applaud his leadership on the issue and pray that Congress will quickly enact his proposals.
William P. EuDaly
Sandy Springs resident
Retired Gwinnett County high school teacher