To the editor: Kenn Splitt's letter has opened up a conversation of merit regarding gun rights and consequences. If I'm reading her correctly, Ms. Noll Logic suggests there need not be any laws, because they can't prevent that which they're intended to prevent.

Yelling fire? OK. How about drunk driving manslaughter? That driver can only suffer the consequences of his or her actions after the accident, after someone's been killed, so, scratch that one, too? Ms. Noll Logic's discussion is counter to the opinion and experience of most every law enforcement officer in the country.

She proposes that one person with a legal, concealed weapon would take out that lone bad actor before he shot my child. Just as likely, there may be two, three, 10 or more people with legal, concealed weapons. It may have started out as a lone gunman wreaking havoc in that dark movie theater, but now it's two, three, 10 or more firing willy-nilly, with the number of casualties and innocents exponentially multiplied.

I'm a Vietnam vet; I've experienced killing up close and personal. I'm also a former gun owner, hunter and member of the NRA I was a freshman in high school when President Kennedy was shot. While in shop class, an announcement came over informing us of what had just happened, and telling us that school would be dismissed for the remainder of the day. Most of us just stared in disbelief.

Some 18 years later, in 1981, an attempt was made on President Regan's life, and his press secretary, James Brady was nearly killed in the same incident. The secretary and his wife lobbied for stricter hand gun and assault weapon restrictions, and in 1993, the "Brady Bill" was passed. That replaced the "Gun Control Act" of 1968. The Brady Bill contains many of the provisions being talked about today. The NRA has opposed this legislation from the start. The Supreme Court, in 1997, decided one provision of the Brady Bill was unconstitutional. If only a serious attempt were made to enforce the rest of the laws we have.

Gun suicide rates in America are at the highest rate since 1998. Gun murders are actually at the lowest since 1981. Unfortunately, since the Columbine High School murders less than 14 years ago, there have been some 130 school shootings that resulted in at least one student or school official being killed or injured.

The subject of gun control pre-dates the Second Amendment by a long shot. As we as a nation once again take up this highly charged and contentious subject, we should hope that we're able to collectively come to a reasonable and final compromise about where our rights end and reason and empathy begin. The thought of 20 dead children should not inflame our passions toward each other; it should give us pause and bring us together of mind and purpose.

Ritch "Doc" Santer

Mount Carmel