I commend Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger and other congressional Democrats who have shown the courage to stand up for the American people ("Md. Democrats join House sit-in over gun control; protest gets heated in chamber," June 22).

One of the chief responsibilities of government is to keep the citizens safe. I feel safer when I am out of the country than I do when I go to church, the supermarket, the movie theater or the mall at home.

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As a boy I was fan of Westerns — the Lone Ranger and Hop-along Cassidy were my heroes. I had a cowboy outfit and a gun and holster. At some point I outgrew those toys and moved on.

The NRA and their Republican lackeys have held the country hostage as the body count keeps increasing. We regulate driving, drugs and cigarettes because we got smart on these issues. A 10-year old child does not have the right to drive.

But anyone, no matter how unsuited, has the right to possess an arsenal of weapons.

The standards for allowing people to have guns are almost non-existent. How crazy and irresponsible is this? The NRA has so distorted the meaning of the Second Amendment that one has to wonder what its motivation is.

It clearly is not about protecting the American people. At some point gun owners will have to reassess their commitment to their families, communities and country.

I hope that the Democrats continue this struggle. We need to restore a sense of safety and security in our communities.

After years of inaction by Congress I am finally beginning to hope that the work needed to improve the lives of Americans may actually take place.

Edward McCarey McDonnell, Baltimore

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