Without action, more massacres will follow

The mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Tucson, Ariz., and other places are very sad. Americans should be able to go to church, the movies, the mall, school or any public place without fear of being gunned down by a crazy person.

Our Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees the right of people to assemble peacefully. Americans should have the freedom to move about without needing to carry a gun or be in constant presence of armed guards.

As a society, we seem to be waging the wrong battle here. Rather than a passionate war about Second Amendment rights, the real issue should be to make a determined effort to keep lethal weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals, especially felons and the mentally ill.

In District of Columbia vs. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court very clearly states that society has a right to control, and legitimate interest in controlling, gun ownership in several specific ways. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said: “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited ...” It is not “... a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

I applaud the efforts of Rep. Mike McLachlan and those of other elected representatives who are addressing the very complex issues of firearms. Without action, there will be more Newtown massacres. Surely, we can find common ground on this issue.

Dianne C. Pratt