More letters, Sept. 15

September 13, 2013 

Background checks a sensible precaution

James Hardy raised intriguing points in his letter (CHN, Aug. 7).

It is not my purpose to get into an extended debate as to whether the Second Amendment gives the individual citizen the right to bear arms or, as the commas in the amendment suggest, the need to have a militia, at that time consisting in the main of citizenry, justifies the citizen being armed.

Presently, we have any number of “well-regulated militias” (e.g.: police, National Guard, federal agencies including FBI, DEA, and Homeland Security among them.) Based on the amendment’s premise, no individual would have need for a weapon.

Let us presuppose Mr. Hardy is correct and there are evil and deranged people out there. Shouldn’t we make some attempt to protect the rest of the citizenry by doing a background check on those who want a weapon? While it may be true that the gun is only a tool, shouldn’t we be loathe to give such tools to those we know will make ill use of them?

Finally, I have no problem with “assault” weapons provided they are used by trained “militia” during a war or some other multiple arms conflict as defense. School children and the rest of the innocent citizenry are not warriors. They attack no one requiring any need for horrendous volleys.

It is, to use Mr. Hardy’s words, “shameful” and “disgusting” to allow our citizens to have weapons without a background check and those weapons capable of mass murder.

Jay Emmer

Fearrington Village

Free speech and Syria

According to the CIA website, Syria has state-run TV/radio broadcast networks; private radio broadcasters are prohibited from transmitting news or political content.

Question: Do you think not having freedom of speech might have something to do with why Syria’s having a civil war?

David Polewka

Chapel Hill

Come learn with us

Peer Learning, a lifelong learning group active in Chapel Hill for 30 years, is soon to begin its fall semester. We offer a number of courses and hold social outings that we treasure.

Regular classes will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 16. To learn about Peer Learning and the fall course schedule, please go to

Barbara R. Tepperman

Chapel Hill

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