Honest debate about guns
Jonathon S. Tobin’s recent opinion piece on guns and the Second Amendment (“The only honest discussion about guns rests on the Second Amendment,” June 3) is disheartening. Contrary to Tobin’s opinion, it would seem that there is room for honest debate as it is not just liberal Jewish advocacy groups and pro-gun control Democrats who are interested in this type of debate. According to recent surveys, the overwhelming majority of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, strongly support universal background checks, including private gun sales and sales at gun shows, and two-thirds of Americans support banning assault-style weapons. A bipartisan Background Checks Act requiring checks for all gun sales passed the House more than a year ago, but has been stalled in the Senate.
With 400 million guns in circulation in America, it would not seem that buying a gun is a “bureaucratic nightmare.” Because guns are ingrained in American culture, it is unreasonable to expect a significant decrease in gun ownership. Personally, I have no issue with people legally owning handguns for protection, target shooting or competition, or long guns for hunting. However, it seems inconceivable that people need to own AR-15 military-style semiautomatic guns with high-capacity magazines, such as those used in the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas. Ironically, in the U.S there is a minimum legal drinking age of 21 years, but 18 year olds are legally able to buy the weapons used in recent mass shootings.
Tobin also fails to address the role of firearms in suicide deaths. In the U.S. in 2020, there were just under 46,000 suicides, over 52% by a firearm. This has led to recent bipartisan support for “red flag” laws allowing family members and police to petition the courts to confiscate firearms from people who are at risk of harming themselves or others.
Contrary to Tobin’s attempt to politicize the gun control debate, there is lots of room for honest discussion on the urgent need to decrease firearm deaths in America.
Beryl Rosenstein, M.D.
Crosshairs of hate
How horrible in this country that Jews, Blacks, Asians, the Indigenous (please forgive if I left you out) continue to be in the crosshairs of hate (“Owings Mills JCC evacuated after bomb threat; threat deemed noncredible,” May 20). We all bleed red and are more alike than not. “Can we all get along?” as Rodney King said.