Dear editor:

How many more lives have to be wasted? How much more blood has to be shed? How many more communities shattered by the senseless carnage? How many more times do we have to hear those by now senseless, inane words “This is not about guns.” One has to wonder about a “civilized society” that instructs young school children to shelter in place not from a natural disaster but from an active shooter.

Since we know the majority of these American terrorists’ weapons of choice are assault-style guns and high capacity magazines, common sense and logic would dictate laws requiring background checks (76 percent of Americans favor them) would be passed and enforced. Gun enthusiasts would say laws restricting an individual’s right to purchase guns are a violation of that individual’s Second Amendment rights. What about victims’ rights? Don’t all those Sandy Hook second graders and teachers have a right to life? The Declaration of Independence guarantees us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Note the first of these is life; without it the other two would be meaningless. Our elected officials take an oath stating that they will protect our rights. Yet they refuse to enact even reasonable gun laws to protect that most basic right - the right to life.

Senators John McCain and Diane Feingold coauthored a bi-partisan bill to limit campaign financing. This was done in an effort to level the political playing field and to restrict large donors from tilting the odds in their favor. However, in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FCC found that corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations were “individuals” and donations were “speech”, thus protected by the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause. This case was an open door letting in millions of dollars in corporate and large independent donor campaign funds. These donors did so in order to ensure their representatives voted in their favor on key legislation. A prime example is the lack of sane gun laws. So rather than government of the people, for the people, and by the people, we have government by corporations and lobbies.

Marsha Lawrence

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