Background checks are least we can do

Recent mass killings with the use of firearms have sickened and frightened Americans, and moved many to urge stricter gun control. Certainly these events get our attention because of the numbers of victims, and sometimes, in the case of Newtown, Conn., the ages. The facts, however, reveal that gun violence is committed every single day in this country, and mostly in our own homes and on our own streets. Domestic violence is an epidemic. It is usually committed by people who know their victims, are emotionally charged, but not necessarily mentally ill, and have a gun at their immediate disposal.

The key words here are “guns at their immediate disposal.” Impulse control is not good in these individuals. We are never going to totally prevent people from getting angry enough to kill someone, but we can limit their ability to act on their impulses in this very lethal way. To those who would say that we can’t prevent the bad guys from getting guns, I would say, we can prevent some. To do nothing is to gamble with our lives. We have all kinds of rules regarding alcohol, cigarettes, the driving of cars, etc. Does it not make sense to limit gun ownership as well?

Certainly we have the right to own guns, but certain types of guns are beyond the pale when it comes to protection. At the very least, universal background checks are necessary. Enforcement of present laws is also necessary, and more people need to be hired to do this. The mentally ill need to be identified and treated, and the laws preventing us from demanding psychiatric evaluation of individuals need to be revised.

In short, my right to live is more important than your right to own a gun. The Declaration of Independence guarantees me “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” There is no liberty where there is no life.

Adrienne Crandall