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It is time to revisit? Second Amendment

What is so sacrosanct about the Second Amendment to the Constitution that it cannot be amended or repealed? The beauty and longevity of the Constitution is enhanced by its openness to amendment and updating. Its relevancy to current realities shows the enlightenment and intelligence of its Framers. Some may think that its ideas are written in stone and are not to be changed, but the fact that the Constitution has been amended 27 times is evidence of its changing nature.

The changes in the Constitution show how it can be updated for changing times and ideas. Slavery and women's voting reflect changes in the will of the populace since the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. The Framers could not have possibly imagined the state of the country 221 years later. Nor could they imagine automatic pistols and assault weapons. I'm sure the arms they had in mind could only be fired about once a minute, if the powder was fresh and dry.

The fluidity of the Constitution has protected us for all these years and has been a model for many other governing documents around the world, but it needs our constant attention and understanding to remain relevant.

George J. Denecke

Springville

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Legal gun owners? can help save lives

I would like to comment on the letter, "Gun-happy society defies common sense." It is amazing how many people form an opinion without educating themselves. The writer mentioned how outrageous it is that Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia now allow you to bring a gun in a bar. He left out New York. It is legal here. He mentioned that Georgia is analyzing whether to allow guns in church. Again, legal in New York. Maybe he didn't know because a legal gun owner carries it quietly, conceals it and would only bring it out to save lives. Maybe his!

I hope he read the letter after his, which said it all: Chicago, having banned handguns for years, is the murder capital of the country. I do believe a certain president is from Chicago.

Dan Kashuba

Cheektowaga

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Mental health problems ?continue to be overlooked

There is not one all-encompassing solution to the unimaginable tragedies that have occurred in Newtown, Conn., and Columbine and Aurora, Colo.

Gun-control proponents argue that stricter laws will help to prevent these massacres. Pro-gun lobbyists say that people kill people, not guns. In this reader's eye, both are correct. However, one important variable continues to be overlooked in this equation: identification and continued care for mentally and emotionally unstable individuals.

As one with a close family member suffering from chronic mental issues, I am well aware of the ongoing attention and monitoring required to care for such a person. There is no magic-bullet cure to correct every symptom associated with depression, mania and other acute warning signs experienced by those suffering from such afflictions. These are lifelong conditions.

After all the progress and medical advances that have been developed to improve the quality of life of these poor souls, there still are stigmas attached to mental illness that tend to keep these conditions a "dirty little secret." Shame and character flaw continue to be unfairly attached to conditions that have physical causes.

Cuts to aid the care of the mentally ill have not helped this cause. This loss of funding to help those who require regular supervision and occasional hospitalization continues to propagate the old world belief that mental illness is somehow not a legitimate sickness.

Surely, if we all were more empathetic to those who have done nothing wrong other than having the bad luck of being born with a chemical deficiency or having an unforeseen traumatic incident affect their lives, maybe these unexplainable tragedies could be reduced rather than becoming the norm.

John Walker

Lancaster

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Put resource officers ?back into our schools

After the Newtown school incident, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now pushing for more gun control laws. This, without a doubt, will have resistance from outside groups and others. If somebody wants to do harm, he will find a weapon, law or no law.

Cuomo should take another look at restoring funds that eliminated many resource officers located in our schools. These officers were a permanent fixture in school buildings and on the grounds during school hours. The visual sight of the officer is a big deterrent for someone thinking of doing harm. As we all know, seconds count, not minutes.

H. Jim Bitterman

Iroquois school bus driver

Elma

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We need to create ?a culture of peace

It is unthinkable, everyone says. It is a terrible, grievous tragedy, a trauma both devastating and far-reaching. But is it unthinkable? Violence is prevalent in much of our entertainment films like "Saw" and "Friday the 13th" and video games such as "Manhunt" and "Call of Duty." We show the blood and the "unthinkable" only subtly suggested in days gone by.

Sudden death is very thinkable in other parts of the world; in war zones and where drones strike at home, in the mosque or market, on the road. Children and adults watch the skies in fear in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Pakistan, at least 168 children have died in U.S. drone attacks since 2004.

In Buffalo, it is heartbreakingly thinkable, too. We have had 44 homicides this year, and more shootings. Sometimes the killing is random, or the person killed was not the target. When we combine automatic distrust, the "might is right" attitude, smoldering trauma and the pervasiveness and sometimes even glorification of violence in our culture with minimal gun control, we have the recipe for the disaster we see. At least three times as many people per 100,000 are shot and killed in this country as in other developed countries.

We desperately need serious gun control. We desperately need the determined promotion of peaceful conflict resolution training, especially for our children and youth. We need to make healing troubled hearts and minds a priority, and to create a culture of peace in our society. And we will all need to work together to do it.

Victoria B. Ross

Peaceful Conflict Resolution Consultant, WNY Peace Center

Interfaith Peace Network

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Soldiers, not civilians,? need assault weapons

There was a report regarding the Connecticut school shooting that indicated a two-minute timeline from the moment the shooting started until it ceased. It took the shooter two minutes to kill 20 children and six adults. The coroner said the victims had multiple gunshot wounds. Other than a soldier in a military engagement, who needs that capability? Do we love our guns more than we love our children?

Sandra W. Myers

Williamsville