It's time to talk about gun control

Dec. 21, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

To the Editor:

This week, 20 small caskets will be lowered into the cold Connecticut ground. Across the rest of our country, a serious discussion must begin. A discussion of how we address mental health issues, a discussion of the impact of violent video games and movies, a discussion about enforcing existing laws ... and yes, a discussion of sensible gun regulation.

Combat-style assault weapons with high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets have no place in the hands of private citizens, and eliminating them will not violate the Second Amendment. Let's be clear: any device that can discharge hundreds of high-velocity bullets in a matter of seconds is a weapon of mass destruction. Such weapons are not necessary for self defense, for hunting, for target practice or for compensating for other shortcomings in the owner’s character or physique. The Second Amendment, like the First Amendment, is not absolute; you cannot yell “Fire!” in a theater. Limits on the type of weapons available to the public will not violate the right to bear arms any more than Constitutionally upheld laws against libel, slander and sedition violate free speech.

England, France, Sweden, Germany, Japan, Canada and dozens of other civilized countries have fewer than 100 gun-related homicides each year; America loses over 10,000 people each year to gun violence. Since the summer of 1968, the year we lost Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy to an assassin's bullet, more than 1 million Americans have been shot to death. We are doing something wrong, and we have to correct it.

Bryan Littleton

Sanford