Enact useful gun laws

What does it take to open the eyes of the American people to the fact that we are blindsided by our desire to own our own guns. How many innocent children and families must die before we come to our senses?

It doesn’t take a genius to see the correlation between the number of guns owned in this country and the number of tragic incidents compared to many other countries in the world. There is approximately one gun owned by a private citizen for every person in the United States, although not every U.S. citizen owns a gun, which means many individuals own multiple guns. The population of the United States is only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet 31 percent of mass shootings are here.

Strict regulations for owning guns are found in Canada, France and England, just to name a few. These countries require background checks that can take up to six months before ownership is allowed. Japan has strict no-ownership laws.

I have heard time and again the arguments made about the rights to carry arms. One of them states that restricting gun ownership won’t stop criminal and blackmarket sources from getting guns. Very true.

But ask yourself, has it been the “criminal element” behind these mass shootings in our schools? No. It has been the seemingly ordinary individual, the quiet worker, the young adult who holds within themselves a hatred that brings them to plan for months, carefully select a site for full effect, and to shoot anyone within range who they identify as a source of that hatred. All the guns and ammunition in each incident were easily obtained.

We require our police and military to pass extensive testing prior to becoming part of our armed forces. A healthy state of mind is recognized as necessary for our guardians. Yet, a U.S. citizen can carry a gun with few questions asked.

There is no excuse for a country like ours that prides itself as an economic world leader, and a force and arbitrator for peace, to hold the reputation of number one in gun-induced mass killings. Our gun ownership laws are far too lax.

How many more children, students and innocent people have to die?

Find your senses and your courage. Enact gun laws that acknowledge what is really going on.

PATRICIA LEVIN

Johnstown