The right to bear arms

The editorial "Regulating Weapons, Saving Lives," Dec. 22, targets lax gun control with chilling precision. Those demanding the right to bear arms might be allowed a muzzleloading flintlock Kentucky rifle, including powderhorn, but nothing more. This was the most advanced weapon known when the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. Our Founding Fathers could not possibly have imagined modern repeating guns, much less automatic rapid-fire weapons, made possible by metallic cartridges with percussion caps.

The editorial grimly notes: "The estimated 13,000 murders a year committed by gunfire in the United States constitute too large a disaster to fob off with casual insistence on the guaranteed right of an individual to carry an Uzi in his pickup on the Interstate." I agree. By no stretch of twisted fantasy can the Bill of Rights be the excuse for continuing this dreadful, needless carnage. James Tracy, Livermore, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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