In the Jan. 14 editorial “Bullets Kill People,” Rebecca Boroson reveals her ignorance about firearms – and lack of qualification to write intelligently about the subject – by asking “Do you really need a semi-automatic weapon for target practice or hunting? Is it not – with or without an extended clip – designed, instead, for mass murder?”

For Ms. Boroson’s information (it’s a magazine, not a “clip”), any gun that fires one round with each squeeze of the trigger is a semi-automatic. And yes, they are needed for target practice, hunting, and most importantly, self-defense. The ability to fire more than once without reloading is vital when facing someone who would take your life and the lives of your loved ones.

In contrast to Carolyn McCarthy, a truly righteous public servant is former Rep. Dr. Suzanna Hupp of Texas, who endured a similar tragedy but used it as an impetus to see that her fellow citizens were not helpless victims as she and her parents – like McCarthy’s husband and son – were required to be due to odious laws that prohibited law-abiding citizens from carrying concealed weapons.

As Jews we should be most acutely aware of the consequences of being defenseless. More than any other group, we are consistently singled out for blame and persecution. (Note that The Nation magazine has published the false allegation that the Tucson shooter’s mother is Jewish.) And as anyone who has seen the documentary “Innocents Betrayed” knows, good fortune does not long smile on a defenseless, scapegoated, group.

We should commemorate another recent loss, the untimely passing of Aaron Zelman, founder of Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership, by seeing that we are never defenseless again.

The editor responds: The fact remains that bullets kill. As for the false story about Loughner, as far as we can tell it was first (mis)reported by Mother Jones magazine. Read our take on it at http://www.jstandard.com/content/item/jared_loughners_mother_is_not_jewish_and_how_to_fight_a_false_story/.