The editorial "Regulating Weapons, Saving Lives," Dec. 22, is very commendable, but unfortunately it incorrectly assumes that laws will disarm those who should not have weapons, and, in addition, it won't save lives.
New York City is a perfect example of the failure of extremely restrictive gun control laws to disarm the violent. The police estimate of more than 2 million illegal guns in New York is conservative. Despite the most repressive and restrictive gun control laws in the nation, New York City is awash with illegal guns. It doesn't matter where they come from, they are illegally obtained, illegally possessed, and illegally used.
New York City also has one of the highest murder rates in the nation; Washington, D.C., which bans guns totally, has the highest murder rate in the nation. Since gun control laws have little effect upon violence and illegal guns, why advocate more of the same? Martin W. Boxer, Monsey, N.Y.
The further restrictions of the rights and privileges of millions of law-abiding gun owners, in order to attempt to control a few social anarchists seems ludicrous, considering the lack of success legislation has had in this country. It is much easier to purchase an illegal gun on the streets of our nation's capital, than to purchase a legally registered firearm. We have spent billions of dollars in an effort to control guns and drugs, and, if anything, the situation has progressively worsened.
Gun control is not the answer. Until this society corrects the gross inadequacies of the public education system, the constant blurring of justice by our elected officials, and the lack of real concern for ending the cycle of chronic poverty and helping the poor to become contributing members of society, we, as a nation, will continue to circumnavigate the problem.
We need to teach our children social responsibility, respect, and tolerance for all people - values on which our nation was founded, which we have come to neglect. Joseph Maggioncalda, Evansville, Ind. Keeping the peace worldwide
The author of the Opinion page article "European War, European Disunity," Dec. 30, draws the wrong conclusion when she writes: "Let us not forget, however, that Yugoslavia is primarily a European problem."
Civil war in Somalia has brought United States and United Nations involvement to that country because Africa is clearly unable to solve this human tragedy. In the same way, Europeans have failed to stop the bloodshed, torture, and other human rights violations in the former Yugoslavia. Let us recognize that the UN is beginning to play the role for which it was created.
Whether it be Cambodia, Iraq, Somalia, or Yugoslavia, the UN must be supported and encouraged to keep the peace worldwide, and the the US should play a major role as the remaining superpower. John A. Edwards, Arroyo Grande, Calif. Arms sales and the war game
Thank you for the continuing reports on arms sales, especially to the Middle East. It might be nice to play the war game by empowering the United Nations with the ability to tax every arms sale between countries. Money obtained could go to support the UN peacekeeping efforts. Eventually, with a little policing, this could have the result that every country or company selling arms across a national border would have to register the sale with the UN.
Eventually, the weapons business might become less profitable than the butter business. Buryle Payne, Soquel, Calif.