Hal Herring's "Why we all need the Democrats to abandon gun control" deserves our derision (HCN, 10/27/08). Herring may share some values with most Democratic voters, but proselytizing for gun addicts of the Palinesque variety is not one of them.
I learned as a boy on a western Montana ranch that the thoughtful and competent use of firearms is generally practiced by law-abiding citizens who hunt to provide meat for the table. Regulating the type and use of firearms to protect innocent people from gun users who do not respect the law or the rights of others does not require abrogation of Second Amendment rights. The scope of the right to bear arms should, however, be based on reasoned thought and discussion.
Capability to forestall hypothetical government tyranny imposed by force of arms would require private ownership of anti-aircraft, anti-tank, or other major artillery and would introduce an immediate safety hazard to the general public. The notion promoted by Herring that an assault-weapons ban is based on cosmetic rather than lethality considerations is misguided.
Successful proselytizing for reduction of restrictions on use and/or ownership of guns would undoubtedly expose the innocent citizen to even higher levels of violence. Herring's conclusion that abandoning gun-control efforts "seems a small price for the Democrats to pay" is insidious nonsense, an obvious red herring.