The Second Amendment begins, “a well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state... .” It may surprise some, but Pennsylvania already has a well-regulated militia, the National Guard, that serves to protect the security of a free state. Now a few pretend Rambos think they must keep their assault weapons to prevent the government from enforcing laws they dislike.

In 1994 an assault-style weapons ban reduced the number of mass shooting deaths 72 percent per year over the next decade. After the ban expired in 2004, the number of deaths per year had nearly tripled by 2013. Since 2013, yearly deaths have nearly again tripled. The U.S. now also has almost triple the homicide rate per 100,000 people of the next highest western democracy and five times the average of all western democracies.

Currently assault weapons with large capacity magazines are available. These have no use for self-defense or sport hunting — but only for killing other human beings. The NRA and their lackeys now are shifting the blame to the mentally ill. This tactic tries to hide the fact that men, depressed from the loss of a job, girlfriend or internet propaganda, commit most mass shootings. There is no way to predict who will fall prey to these feelings of inadequacy, but the huge numbers of readily available unrestricted weapons has obviously contributed to the increase in mass shooting murders.

School shootings are now commonplace, but surprised school security guards with handguns have little chance against assault weapons. Furthermore, panicked students are likely to be caught in the crossfire.

We need to hold our representatives complicit if they continue to ignore the need to provide universal background checks, red flag laws, domestic violence laws and prohibitions on the possession of assault style weapons or high capacity magazines. We need to let Congress know that our safety is more important than NRA campaign contributions. Our children deserve better.

MICHEL P. WILCOX

Cochranton

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