Opinion | 2 Massacres: ‘How Can This Be Possible in Our Country?’

To the Editor:

Re “Atlanta and Boulder: 18 Deaths in One Week” (front page, March 24):

On March 12 a court blocked the Boulder law banning assault rifles; four days later Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa purchased an assault rifle; and six days after that this 21-year-old allegedly used that assault rifle to murder 10 people.

Earlier this month Robert Aaron Young purchased a revolver, and hours later this 21-year-old allegedly began using this weapon to murder eight people in Georgia spas.

How can this be possible in our country? Shouldn’t a buyer first have a license? Have received training? And approval as to his mental health and good conduct?

Shouldn’t a buyer have to wait a minimum of 14 days from purchase to actual possession so as to minimize impulsive suicide or impulsive killing — much less deliberative murder?

Peter Flemming
West Caldwell, N.J.

To the Editor:

I grew up in Boulder and played high school sports against Columbine two years before that 1999 tragedy. I feel the same helpless, gut-wrenching sadness today that I did then.

After Sandy Hook we should have realized that Republicans will never lift a finger to fix this problem. Ever. We are trying to reason with a group that still insists that Joe Biden stole the election and that climate change doesn’t exist.

I beg of our Democratic leaders to fight like hell now. Use every dirty trick your colleagues across the aisle would. Eliminate the filibuster and push as many laws through as possible with the time you have in office.

This is not the time for bipartisanship. This is the time for sanity, as it has been for decades.

Brian Leavell
Los Angeles

To the Editor:

Colorado has an “open carry” law that allows almost any person over 18 years of age to carry a weapon like an assault rifle into a supermarket, with the city of Boulder having a further restriction that the weapon must be in a carrying case. What this means is that nothing can be done to stop the potential perpetrator until that person actually removes the gun and begins shooting. This is insanity!

Question 1: Why does anyone need an assault rifle other than to outgun the police?

Question 2: What is accomplished by allowing “open carry” other than to intimidate?

Question 3: What magnitude of mayhem and death will we have to endure to finally pass reasonable gun safety legislation?

Arthur Salz
Kew Gardens, Queens

To the Editor:

So many have wondered if the country would get back to normal post-Covid. Now we’ve had two mass shootings in less than a week. Alas, it looks as if the U.S. is getting back to normal.

Cheshire Frager
Flushing, Queens

To the Editor:

In “How to Reduce Shootings” (nytimes.com, March 23), Nicholas Kristof updates the compelling case for treating gun violence as a public health crisis. But we shouldn’t ignore a glaring reality that after Jan. 6 can no longer be ignored.

The public ownership of military-style weapons designed for mass killing used to be justified by a radical fringe as tools to resist “the government” and its military or law enforcement representatives. That fringe has now become more mainstream: Witness the armed occupation of the Michigan Capitol and the seditious assault on the U.S. Capitol.

The awful reality is that many people in the United States want military-style weaponry to be able to combat the actual military or law enforcement. We must confront and change that reality, to keep weapons of mass killing out of the hands of people like Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa and to keep safe places like my hometown, Boulder, Colo.

Thomas Van Pelt
Seattle

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