Compromise needed to stop gun violence

More laws banning assault weapons will not take them out of the hands of criminals. We should have learned that by now. A new approach to gun violence that limits mentally unstable people from buying or possessing weapons is needed, even if it infringes on their constitutional rights. We already infringe upon law-abiding citizens' Second Amendment rights to own guns. It's time we infringe upon mentally unstable people's rights, to get them help and to keep guns out of their hands, before they kill people. We also need to infringe upon our Fourth Amendment rights against search and seizure, perhaps setting up weapons checkpoints (similar to alcohol checkpoints). Compromise is needed on all fronts if we are to stop these senseless killings. As to why law-abiding citizens should be able to own assault weapons; the police know the answer only too well from their experience with the North Hollywood bank shootout in 1997 -- to defend yourself against someone with an assault weapon, you need one yourself.

Charlie Thiel

Pleasanton

Dems reneging on their vows to the elderly

The election isn't even two months past, and Democrats have already betrayed seniors with a proposal to cut Social Security benefits.

Democrats campaigned on a platform that states: "Democrats believe that Social Security and Medicare must be kept strong for seniors, people with disabilities and future generations. Our opponents have shown a shocking willingness to gut these programs to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest, and we fundamentally reject that approach."


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I accepted this as a commitment made by the Obama administration in exchange for my vote in November. But my trust has been violated yet again. I must be a fool because when I voted for Obama in 2008, I expected him and his party to make putting me (and millions like me) back to work their top priority. I guess that was too tough because we didn't get jobs, but we did get health care reform that I won't be able to afford. Why? Because I haven't worked full-time since June of 2008, that's why.

That was how President Obama and the Democrats betrayed the unemployed. Now they betray the old. Let me be perfectly clear: Any Democrat in Congress who supports Chained-CPI or any other change that hurts seniors will be cast from office in 2014.

Michael McCall

Livermore

Time for sanity on gun rights

Newsflash: despite protests to the contrary, few people really believe that the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed. Who believes we should be allowed to own hand grenades? What about RPGs, Bradley Tanks, F-16s or ICBMs? These are all "arms." Should the right to own them be protected?

There's a story in which Winston Churchill reportedly offers a woman £1 million to sleep with him. When she agrees, he changes the offer to £5. The irate woman asks "What kind of woman do you take me for?" to which Churchill responds "We've established that. Now we are trying to determine the degree."

By the same logic, unless we believe that possession of the aforementioned weapons should enjoy Second Amendment protection, we have to agree that ownership of some weapons must be regulated.

Once we have determined that a line can be drawn in the sand, the only question remaining is where to draw it. Reinstating the assault weapons ban is a good place to start.

T.J. Mathews

Livermore

Gun problems start at home

There is a natural tendency to seek some sort of gun control after the horrible killings in Connecticut. In this country we average about 30,000 killed by gunfire.

Of these 30,000 killed by gunfire, let us look at the reasons for the killings; domestic problems, mental illness and criminals. The vast majority of these killings come from criminals. Gun legislation will not keep guns out of their hands. We have laws in place now to prevent this, but they do not work.

Domestic violence will not stop. We could have an impact on the mentally ill with treatment, but it will be expensive. Criminals, we will continue to produce them.

Criminals come from dysfunctional families, most often from a single mother on welfare. The children drop out of school and quickly turn unemployable. What are their choices now? Burglary, robberies and drugs. If we take away their guns we will still be left with criminals.

How do we change this social dilemma? We tend to blame the schools, but the schools are not the problem. The problem is at home.

Ken McNees

Pleasanton

Dems arguing in bad faith on fiscal cliff deal

I am disappointed by your editorial of Dec. 27.

The Republican House passed a bill to extend the Bush taxes for all income groups and sent it to the Senate. Harry Reid refused to allow the bill to come before the Senate for a vote, much less a discussion. President Obama graciously agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts only for those making less than $400,000 but did not include any spending cuts.

The rich have most of their income sheltered one way or another. Instead of raising rates Boehner, agreed to take away tax shelters and make deductions limited by income range, which would bring more income into the government than raising tax rates.

This tells me that the president is looking for a fight with the GOP and not income for the government. I believe the president wants to destroy the GOP, which he feels he can do by leading a class warfare. This also is exactly what your editorial is trying to do. Accusing the GOP of putting party over the needs of the country is so wrong and unfair.

Robert Terhune

Livermore

Place ban on assault weapons

The question answers itself. Why shouldn't assault weapons be banned? Some gun owners hunt, others use the "weapons" for target practice. Without justifying either, there is no place for "assault" weapons whose sole purpose is assault, by definition. They belong only in the armaments of police and armed services, not in civilian hands.

Yes, guns don't kill, but people wielding guns do.

Although banning assault weapons can't prevent individuals from obtaining and using those weapons, banning them, if enforced, may make them less available and killing less likely. It's the best we can hope for. There are few absolutes in life, but we have to do the best we can.

Dr. Albert J. Rothman

Livermore