Readers' Letters
by: Christopher Onstott Pastor Lynne Smouse Lopez of the Ainsworth United Church of Christ, speaks at a rally in March calling for increased mandatory background checks. She appeared with Portland Mayor Sam Adams and other gun-control advocates.

Anyone who thinks the criminal element of society will suddenly begin obeying another new gun law is seriously misinformed (Gun violence puts city, state laws in crosshairs, March 31).

There are an estimated 200,000 federal, state and local gun laws nationwide. What makes the proponents of 'new' gun laws think only theirs will somehow make a difference?

Perhaps new gun laws are not the answer. It is easier to blame an inanimate object instead of the societal decline that leads to rampant narcotics use, gang activity, antisocial or violent criminal behavior. It is much easier to blame guns, rather than focus on the failed multimillion dollar outreach programs that are supposed to solve the problem, but in reality only line the pockets of those running the schemes.

It is much easier to blame the guns and lawful gun owners, rather than admit the utter failure of the so-called mental health system. It is much easier to blame a machine that requires a human hand to operate it, than it is to accept responsibility for failing to properly raise children to be responsible law-abiding adults.

Another side of the coin is the fact that daily in the United States guns are used by average, law-abiding citizens for self defense. Guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year, or 6,849 every day. Often the gun is never fired and no blood (including the criminal's) is shed. Somehow those seldom get reported on the nightly news. I wonder why that is.

Ron Lee Willis


Guns pouring across our borders

'One-third of those arrested live outside Oregon, showing how easily guns travel across city, county and even state lines' (Gun violence puts city, state laws in crosshairs, March 31).

How about the flow of guns across our southern border with Mexico? Not too much concern there by the current administration. Not only are the guns flowing into this country, the feds are flowing guns out of this country into Mexico in a misguided effort to trace where they end up.

Another misguided effort includes the current administration's arming of the unidentified Libyan 'rebels,' who may use those firearms against us. I see little difference in these various flows of firearms - either illegal or 'federally approved.'

If politicians want to get serious about stopping illegal gun movement, they should first address our border issues and get out of the weapon business of arming unknown rebel forces. These federal policies are dangerous, illogical and counterproductive. They make it even more important for legal gun owners to keep their guns responsibly available.

One thing I am certain of: Maintain and preserve Second Amendment rights so that law-abiding, responsible citizens can defend themselves and others must not be infringed upon.

Ann Friday

Southwest Portland

Best answer is to carry a gun

Meanwhile, back here in reality, federal officials seldom prosecute firearm possession charges under existing laws and, after highly publicized shootings, politicians always seem to propose new laws that would not have stopped the crime in question, but would penalize the 99 percent of gun owners who are responsible (Gun violence puts city, state laws in crosshairs, March 31).

If you want to stop gun violence, carry a gun. Federal Department of Justice statistics show clearly that guns are used to prevent violence far more often than to commit it.

Richard Zehr

Sauvie Island

Elitists fund antigun movement

This morally and intellectually dishonest socialist/collectivist antigun agenda is simply 'class warfare' against our Second Amendment and firearms heritage (Gun violence puts city, state laws in crosshairs, March 31).

Furthermore, the civilian disarmament movement in America is not financed by honest blue-collar working class people and producers. No, it's financed by powerful rich 'tax exempt' left-wing foundations such as the Joyce Foundation in Chicago, supporter of the vicious antigun 'Violence Policy Center' in Washington, D.C. Also, by billionaires such as George Soros, Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, and their elitist ilk.

James A. Farmer


Drug crimes should result in jail

Arguably, that is 125 too many saved attempts (Saved after 126 arrests, March 10).

It is great that Darrell White and Troy Ford finally got it together, but it sure isn't clear that society benefited by waiting those years - 32 for Darrell and 24 for Troy. What is not discussed in the story is the possible, I would say probable, outcome had these two individuals initially spent considerable time in jail.

The lament in Old Town by its residents and the police who patrolled there was that making drug arrests was an exercise in futility, because the drug user and dealer were back on the street even before the police officer. One of the main issues over the years has been the policy of the county jail to release drug users and dealers without even an overnight incarceration. The excuse was overcrowding, because the new county jail sat empty due to the lack of operational funds.

What is not revealed in this story either is the cost to society in terms of fueling the needs of other drug users. How many of these other users use criminal means to fund their purchases? What were the costs experienced over the years by the families and friends of Darrell and Troy and those of the drug users they promulgated?

The message in the program: Welcome to Portland, where you will not be held accountable for your actions.

Larry Norton

Northwest Portland

Story showed government's value

Thank you for this inspiring story about public agencies' success in one of the most challenging social policy areas (Saved after 126 arrests, March 10).

It is so important to remind the public about why government exists and how it is able to tackle difficult problems cost effectively.

Teri K. Martin

Northwest Portland

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