Time to leave gun owners alone

To begin with, I do not personally know anybody with an assault weapon, which leads to another question about civil liberties, namely the Second Amendment.

So, therefore, Congress, our legislators, should leave gun owners the hell alone. The only people who have assault weapons are the bad guys -- you know, the people who break into homes, rape, pillage, rob and kill.

I seriously doubt that the bad guys will ever turn over their guns, be they assault weapons or a Saturday Night Special.

Respect for our Constitution is the real issue, and the members of Congress really need to bone up on their understanding of what this country is all about. It's about freedom. What's next? A ban on certain foods and portions?

Ban away, and it is my hope that the good honest citizens will take a stand against tyranny and mayhem, which is dividing my country.

Anita Imazumi

Hayward

Should just enforce current gun laws

Assault weapons account for less than 4 percent of violent crimes. Nine of the top 10 guns used in violent crimes last year were hand guns.

Why is an AR15-style rifle illegal, but a Ruger Mini 14 legal? They're both semi automatic rifles with detachable magazines. The Ruger Mini 14 can be just as deadly as the AR15, but it just looks more like a hunting rifle, so it's OK.

Assault weapons aren't the problem; mental illness and background checks are a much bigger issue. Congress needs to enforce the gun laws already in effect, not add more gun laws.

Congress needs to focus on universal background checks in all 50 states, as well as making it mandatory in all 50 states to turn in mental health records of any person institutionalized against their will.

Right now, 17 out of 50 states submit mental health records to the DOJ.

The majority of Congress realizes that banning assault weapons won't solve the gun problem, they need to implement California's laws in all states.

Randy Martinez

Martinez

Senate should be ashamed of action

The Senate should be ashamed of itself by rejecting the assault weapons bill. The majority of the American people say no to assault weapons. The Senate went against the wishes of the people that elected them to represent them, not the NRA.

I hope Sen. Dianne Feinstein can convince her colleagues to vote for an assault weapons ban. If not, we can expect more carnage as what has taken place at schools and gathering places. Can we expect another Gabrielle Gifford episode that occurred in Arizona? It could be a senator next time.

Robert Beaudreau

Fremont

Congress was right to reject gun bills

Congress was right to reject the assault weapons and clip-size bill for several reasons.

To begin with, they are military style, semi-automatic rifles that function, in the semi-automatic mode only, in the same manner as other, nonmilitary style semi-automatic rifles, not assault weapons.

Assault weapons, which are used by the military, can be switched between full and semi-automatic fire.

Their use by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes far outweighs their use by criminals. If they were banned, the next steps would be, as bills introduced in California would, confiscate previously legally held firearms and ban all semi-automatic rifles with detachable clips.

It was appropriate for Sen. Ted Cruz to take Sen. Dianne Feinstein to task because Feinstein has previously stated her anti-gun views in approximately these words: Mr. and Mrs. America, if I had the votes I would confiscate them all.

All guns from law-abiding citizens, in violation of their Second Amendment rights.

David R. Russell

Berkeley

Gutless puppets in Congress

There is no practical purpose for our society to endure the consequences of the use, or mere existence, of assault weapons. But maybe seeking practical or purposeful policy is no longer the goal of our elected leaders.

The fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would choose to remove the assault weapons ban from the Senate Democratic gun control plan and, thus, preclude any discussion on the floor -- because he deemed it "won't succeed" -- clearly indicates the state of our federal legislative branch.

Instead of being a forum for discussing and weighing creative policy ideas with open and active minds and hearts, we have a collection of close-minded and gutless puppets responding to the pull of the strings of their puppet masters.

They have traded in their integrity for membership in an utterly corrupt culture club.

Ron Greenstein

El Cerrito

Maintaining the status quo

Congress rejected a bill to ban assault weapons. However, given the current political environment, maintaining the status quo perhaps was their only choice.

The political polarity we see today is similar to that of the late 1780s when the Bill of Rights was being incubated. The Federalists envisioned a strong, benevolent national government, while anti-Federalists were deeply concerned about the erosion of states' rights.

The Second Amendment was a product of compromise between the two factions, so the founders' primary concern, the security of the national state was given prominence.

Historians believe there was an understanding that personal liberties pertaining to guns would be preserved without the need for specific mention.

So today, Congress is left with a 222-year-old, incomplete statement on which to base decisions about complicated, modern social issues. It's like being asked to build a nuclear bomb using information gleaned from a high-school science class.

Without an updated amendment, politicians can only guess at the correct course to take.

John P. O'Shea

El Sobrante

Enforce existing gun laws

Assault weapons account for less than 4 percent of violent crimes. Nine of the top 10 guns used in violent crimes last year were handguns.

Why is an AR-15 style rifle illegal, but a Ruger Mini-14 legal? They're both semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines. The Ruger Mini-14 can be just as deadly as the AR-15, but it just looks more like a hunting rifle, so it's OK.

Assault weapons aren't the problem; mental illness and background checks are a much bigger issue. Congress needs to enforce the gun laws already in effect, not add more gun laws.

Congress needs to focus on universal background checks in all 50 states, as well as making it mandatory in all 50 states to turn in mental health records persona institutionalized against their will. Right now, 17 out of 50 states submit mental health records to the Department of Justice.

The majority of Congress realizes that banning assault weapons won't solve the gun problem; they need to implement California's laws in all states.

Randy Martinez

Martinez

The rejection was self serving

Of course Congress made the right decision in rejecting the assault weapons bill.

Congress has not done anything in the last 10 years or longer, so why do anything of significance now. Besides, if they voted for the restrictions, how would they ever be able to line their pockets on the backs of their constituents or the lives of innocent children?

Being a Vietnam veteran, I know what firepower is used for and what it can do. In a civilian world, it is not anything good.

I am not so foolish as to believe the legislation will make any near-term difference, but if one of these carnages is stopped, it will be worth it. I do support the Second Amendment of our Constitution, but registration of firearms and limiting killing power are not protected, only the right to bear arms.

Blaming the lack of mental health care is a smoke-screen, since it does not take a clean bill of health to buy a gun. Maybe it should.

Roy Larkin

Concord