Congress' gun-free school law backfired

Re: "Congress must act to halt gun violence," From Readers, May 10

I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelief while reading Regina Perez's Mother's Day letter begging Congress "to pass legislation to protect [her] children from gun violence."

Congress passed the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990 to curb gun violence on campus. Since then, there have been more than 90 school shootings, compared to just 44 in the 23 years before the GFSZA was passed. These figure don't take into account off-campus shootings like those at the Aurora, Col. movie theater where carrying a gun was and is prohibited.

In Chicago, where legal gun ownership is severely restricted, there were 443 gun-related deaths in 2012, up 16 percent over 2011. Most of these crimes were committed with handguns, not the "scary" assault rifles Democrats in Congress want to restrict.

We must balance rights with responsibilities. Gun crime is lower on average in communities where legal gun ownership is permitted and citizens are allowed to carry concealed firearms than in communities where legal gun ownership is severely restricted. The media focus on crazed shooters who kill dozens of people, but never report incidents where lawful gun owners stopped senseless violence.

A mother who truly wanted to protect her children would give them every opportunity to fight back against would-be killers, not take those tools away.

Matthew Hurtt


All stroke victims should receive standardized care

Despite significant advances in the prevention and treatment of stroke, it remains the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. Certain segments of the population have a disproportionately high risk of stroke, with African-Americans having almost twice the risk as whites.

Time is critical in treating stroke, and a fragmented, disorganized delivery system can prohibit patients from receiving proper treatment. Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV tPA) has demonstrated improved outcomes in acute ischemic stroke, but only 2 to 5 percent of patients receive this time-sensitive therapy.

Research shows that in the District's predominantly black urban population, blacks who were hospitalized for acute ischemic stroke were significantly less likely to be treated with IV tPA. Establishing national standards will coordinate care so that all who suffer a stroke receive timely treatment. These standards will also improve the cost-effectiveness of care by improving patient outcomes and reducing the need for more extensive medical care.

D.C. Councilmember David Catania has agreed to sponsor a bill and several councilmembers are in support. However, a bill has not yet been introduced. I urge the council to establish systems of stroke care in the District to ensure that all stroke victims receive timely, quality care.

Amie W. Hsia, MD

Medical Director,

MedStar Washington Hospital Center Stroke Center

Focus should be on traditional nuclear family

Re: "'I'm gay': NBA player Jason Collins breaks barrier," April 30

Maybe I'm just too old school, but it seems to me that it would be much more beneficial to society as a whole if we had the president and the mainstream media out praising and glorifying families that have a father and mother who have been married for a long time and whose children are well-adjusted because their parents spend time with them instead of focusing on gay athletes and celebrities.

After all, President Obama seems to have a well-adjusted traditional family himself, you know.

Elmer Brown

Mechanicsville, Va.