To the editor: The recent discussions regarding guns are divided into two distinct groups: Are guns the problem or is it people?

A gun is only a tool for a criminal. Cars, bats, knives, screwdrivers, hammers and chainsaws could also be killer tools. As for people, recent government proposals attempt to identify problems in this area by requiring background checks. However, those checks will only look for prior criminal activity. They cannot identify psychological disorders.

We are victims of our permissive society. We've banned corporal punishment in schools and have told students that whatever they do is all right. When children are not held responsible for their actions, we will eventually evolve into a lawless society.

No gun law will stop violence. We've had violence since Cain killed Abel. Our focus should be on finding and helping the mentally and psychologically disturbed.

Bearing arms may be interpreted not only as a right to protect our property and lives, but an important right to protect us from a tyrannical government. History has shown us that disarmed citizens are easily controlled and powerless.

Our rights defined in the Constitution do not require you to own a firearm, but they do allow you to make that choice. Are assault rifles really needed to protect us from government tyranny, from protecting ourselves and our property? Could limiting access to these weapons possibly prevent future mass killings?

At no time has a citizen or a government official ever stated or implied the government will take away all our guns. I am confident the "checks and balances" in our government system, established by our Constitution, which have lasted for nearly 250 years, will continue to protect our rights, including the rights defined in the Second Amendment.

I also believe limiting access to specific types of assault guns to the general public is an attempt by the government to protect our law-abiding citizens from violence and lawlessness and our "right to bear arms" is not violated.

Kenn Splitt