"I respect others' fears. Now respect mine: I'm afraid of the NRA."

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Today's L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "The NRA's hidden power," Opinion, Jan. 3

The NRA could not find a more appealing spokeswoman than Carlson. But let's look at a few facts:

The NRA was taken over by the far right in 1977 under the leadership of Harlon Carter, an anti-immigrant fanatic. As a teenager, he was convicted for murder (his conviction was eventually overturned).

The 2nd Amendment was not conceived in an era of 30-round clips. Today, weapons like the AR-15 are sold at gun shows. Why isn't the NRA at the forefront of responsible gun reform?

About 11,000 Americans are killed because of gun violence every year. Britain has fewer than 100 such deaths. The NRA position on addressing this is unacceptable.

Carlson wrote that the NRA's "power lies in its ability to tap into people's real and imagined fears." I respect others' fears. Now respect mine: I'm afraid of the NRA.

Peter Merlin

Los Angeles

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