I find the recent spate of letters to the editor advocating reasonable steps to control the use of firearms in our society most encouraging. I’m also not hopeful that our state Legislature or our national Congress has either the backbone or courage to stand up to the National Rifle Association.
When we realize that more American citizens have perished in our society since 1970 from guns than have been killed in all the wars our country has fought from its founding, it becomes even more obvious that civilized behavior would at least require background checks as a first step to reducing firearm deaths, something the majority of our citizens support.
Contrary to the NRA conclusion, if the First Amendment of the federal Constitution protecting free speech is not absolute, neither should the Second Amendment’s right “to keep and bear arms.” Our nation’s founders likely never conceived of high-powered automatic weapons that are widely obtainable today. In a free and ordered society there must be reasonable limits on their accessibility.
There are simply too many firearms in irresponsible hands. The lack of control of firearms in American society is nothing less than a profound social, political and moral scandal. It’s also a national embarrassment. As others have pointed out, no other so-called advanced and industrialized nation tolerates the ongoing gun violence we read about almost daily.
WILLIAM M. PAUL