Response to ‘A discussion about guns’

In her letter of Aug. 29, Danielle Wiener advocates for a respective dialogue around guns. I believe she is sincere and I applaud her for it. But such a dialogue is worth little if it is incomplete or inaccurate. Ms. Wiener’s assertion that background checks would have little effect on suicide by those who already own a gun is certainly true. But it should have been mentioned that in the larger context of gun violence, background checks work, and that her fellow Minnesotans support them by a margin of nine to one. Giffords Law Center data shows that since 1999, they have prevented over 3 million illegal gun purchases. Of particular concern was the assertion that red flag laws were unlikely to prevent suicide. Of course mental health care is important, but if a person in crisis reaches for a gun, they will almost certainly die. Studies by the University of Colorado stress the critical importance of removing firearms from homes where a person is likely to harm themselves. Red flag laws would give families the ability to do just that, while still protecting the legal rights of their loved ones. Finally, assault weapons are particularly lethal guns. Would anyone advocate only equipping our military with the .22 pistols or shotguns loaded with buckshot that Ms. Wiener compares them to? I believe the next respectful dialogue should be in the Minnesota Senate where they should consider the passage of universal background checks and red flag laws.

John Barden, Prior Lake


If you have been paying any attention to what is going on in Washington D.C., you have noticed an increased level of “ swampyness” lately. More and more accusations are being leveled against President Donald Trump’s administration. Whether you lean GOP or DFL you must admit that many of his recent environmental decisions have been counter to what most Minnesotans believe. Protection of our air and water should be of utmost importance and climate change mitigation should be a top priority. Neither of these issues seems to be of concern to this administration, while the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that our planet is quickly approaching the point of no return. Washington needs to change course on these issues and they need to do it soon!

My granddaughters and their children expect to breathe clean air and drink safe water during their entire lives.

Dick Weinhandl, Aitkin

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