Uh, We Meant 'The Town Gentleman'
Re: "The Town Curmudgeon" by Trevor Aaronson (Jan. 22-28)

Holy cannoli!

A "gadfly", "curmudgeon", "vitriolic", "letter-writing nutcase" — MOI?

You mean this accurately describes my letter that appeared in the same edition, among the calm, reasoned and amicable letters printed on the subject of the "Requiem for Our News Staff"?

Well, GEEZ! I really did drop the ball that time.

(Or maybe your reporter heard about the increasingly notorious "Adam Clymer Award for ASSHOLE Journalism," almost invariably awarded to carefully selected employees of the St. Pete Times — but I'm beginning to think about that too.)

—Dan Calabria, South Pasadena

Up in Arms
Re: "Weapons of Mass Consumption" by Jake Bregman and Julia Reynolds (Jan. 15-21)

I would point out that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is in all probability the least reliable federal agency in existence, and the very act of accepting statements by the agency is a serious error. Having said that, I wholly agree that the laws in regard to the AK-47 in its various configurations are senseless and one may say stupid. However, the entire gun control regimen consists of stupid laws implemented and supported by stupid people. Consider the following:

It is now illegal to sell an AK-47 with the lugs to attach a bayonet. Have you or anyone ever heard of a crime in which an AK-47 was used with a bayonet? In order to own a silencer for any gun, you must obtain a special license, which the last time I checked many years ago cost $300. Ironically, it is possible to silence any gun using a plastic pop bottle, so what's the point of the law? As mentioned in the article, an AK-47 produced after a certain date is illegal with a pistol grip but legal with a "supporting grip." The function of the weapons is identical, so what's the point?

I am at a loss as to exactly what point your article is attempting to make. The fact that all these AK-47s are imported from the Communist Peoples' Republic of China seems not to be a prominent segment of the article. I frankly cannot understand why anyone would go about America purchasing these guns for distribution in quantity to third party consumers. Furthermore, the ammunition for this gun is made in quantity in at least 30 nations and is available anyplace. The act of exporting such devices without the properly required permits is stupid and illegal, and will definitely arrange a long prison stay for the perpetrators.

The statement that there is no restriction on the number of guns any individual can buy is true. However, the seller must report sales to the state and also the federal government for most items, so it is simple enough for the ATF to pull a record and find the same individual purchasing multiple same guns and therefore investigate what is being done with them.

What, however, really frosts my cookies is the mention of the U.S. Patriot Act. Next to the Homeland Security Act, it represents the largest single confrontation to liberty and freedom in America. The misconception fostered by the administration that these laws are for the security and safety of the American people is not only vacuous, but an out and out lie. Laws that severely restrict liberty, freedom, speech, and association have little to do with security and safety and a great deal to do with people control by an elite few.

—Adrian H. Krieg, Brandon

"Weapons of Mass Consumption" was a real disappointment because real reporting, and more importantly, real editing and review by Planet staff might have uncovered a story with some flavor and journalistic nuance.

Instead, Planet readers were treated to the usual gun-control rap by the usual suspects, namely a liberal treatise from The Nation magazine.

—James Parker, via e-mail

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