Letters: Gun Control

Melissa Block reads emails from listeners about gun control.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's time now for your letters. Last week, we heard from two gun-rights advocates in Texas. State Rep. Wayne Christian told us that he's worried about what a second term for President Obama might mean for gun owners.

STATE REP. WAYNE CHRISTIAN: Well, of course, in Texas, I feel very satisfied, very good. I think Texas is protected. But of course, the national leadership in Washington - the Obama administration - is a great threat.

BLOCK: And Shelby County Judge Rick Campbell told us just how much he values his right to bear arms.

JUDGE RICK CAMPBELL: I think the Second Amendment right and the First Amendment right - I think they're equally as important.

BLOCK: And our reporter suggested that the old saying "guns don't kill people, people kill people" is more principle than cliche in East Texas.

Well, listener Russ Pryor(ph), of Packwood, Washington, says he's heard that refrain before. He writes: Most notably from my late father, a longtime hunter who taught me how to safely use a shotgun. I'll ask Judge Campbell the same thing I used to ask my father. How many drive-by knifings have you read about in the paper?

Texan Lisa Estel(ph), of Houston, writes this: I am bitterly disappointed in NPR and the completely disingenuous story on the state of gun-control advocacy in the U.S. I am a moderate voter, an urbanite and an environmental science teacher, and even I have absolutely no problem with rifles and hunting. Indeed, I tell my students that many ecosystems are dependent upon hunters to act as top-level predators and maintain ecosystem equilibrium.

Ms. Estel goes on: It is the proliferation of handguns, automatic weapons, and ammunition that has no purpose other than to be as devastating to humans as possible, that is the true gun problem in our country.

Lastly, James Fritz(ph), of Coos Bay, Oregon, thanks us for the report and writes this: I am one of tens of thousands of liberal gun owners living in rural America. Although many NPR listeners may have been put off by the piece, I was heartened that maybe liberals could find their way to the right side of the gun issue. The Second Amendment does not have to be scary - 99.99 percent of gun owners are disciplined; responsible; and use guns for recreation, as ranching tools and yes, for defense.

Mr. Fritz concludes: I am a Democrat, an Obama supporter, a U.N. supporter, generally unsympathetic to conspiracy theories - and a gun owner.

Thanks to all of you who wrote in, and please keep sending your letters. Go to NPR.org, and click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page. You can also follow us on Twitter @npratc and @nprmelissablock.

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