Letters: I don’t blame the majority of gun owners, or their guns, for anything

Letters: I don’t blame the majority of gun owners, or their guns, for anything

I agree in part with M.J. Walt’s letter (Oct. 24) about shootouts in St. Paul. Of course it is silly to blame guns — or any inanimate object — for human behavior. In fact, gun safety advocates do not blame guns, though pro-gun advocates say they do. For us the problem is who gets access to guns, e.g., people with records of abusive behavior and violent crime; people with mental health conditions that make them dangerous to themselves or others. We favor strong background checks for the first group and red-flag laws for the second. I also agree with M.J. Walt that “surety and swiftness of punishment” is a strong deterrent to crime — but not the only one. Prevention is better than punishment. Strict gun laws do work as prevention. Canada and Germany have high rates of private gun ownership, but their laws keep their gun death rate far below that of the United States, which has a very high rate of gun deaths for a developed nation. The great majority of gun owners in the U.S. store their firearms securely and use them responsibly. I don’t blame them or their guns for anything. Victor Urbanowicz, St. Paul Montesquieu’s ideas, still meaningful today In 1748, Montesquieu, a very influential writer of the 18th century, wrote “The Spirit of Laws.” It was politically controversial at the time, but was impactful in many countries. Sir Isaiah Berlin, a 20th century British philosopher, wrote this about Montesquieu’s ideas: “he advocated constitutionalism, […]

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