Warren County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Wright says it is time to start a conversation about enacting laws that could curtail the kind of tragedy that occurred last week in Connecticut.
Wright, who serves as president of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), issued a statement Wednesday about the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., which was sent to news organizations across the country.
Speaking on behalf of NDAA, Wright said:
“As the voice of America’s prosecutors, the National District Attorneys Association offers its heartfelt condolences to the people of Newtown, Conn. Instead of shopping for Christmas presents or preparing holiday meals, the community of Newtown is grieving and planning funerals. While there will be no prosecution of the murderer in this case, all too often after such acts of carnage it is left to the prosecutor to bring some semblance of justice to the victims’ families.
“It is no longer an open legal question about the Second Amendment’s guarantee of our right to bear arms. But the Second Amendment has never been designed as a dodge for psychopaths to destroy our loved ones. NDAA feels that now is the time for Congress to act. No hunter and no sportsman needs an assault weapon to exercise their constitutional rights. No homeowner and no citizen needs a high-capacity magazine to adequately protect themselves. While it is certainly true that the Newtown killer could have inflicted mass casualties with just the use of a handgun, his apparent use of an assault weapon gave him a greater opportunity to cause the heartache he did.”
Wright told The Record Wednesday that he understood that NDAA’s position would be viewed by some as controversial.
“I’m probably going to get some hate mail over this,” he acknowledged. “But I want to be clear this is not an attempt to take away anyone’s guns. People have the right to bear arms. We are just trying to start a conversation about limiting assault-type weapons and high-capacity magazines and the kind of things that inflict, for a lack of a better word, mass destruction.”
Wright compared the legal issues associated with gun control and the Second Amendment to those of free speech and the First Amendment.
“The Constitution guarantees us the right to free speech but it is not an absolute right,” he explained. “For instance, you cannot go into a crowded theater and yell ‘fire’ when there isn’t one out of a general concern for public safety. The law recognizes that some restrictions are necessary for public safety.”
Wright said his organization stands ready to assist Congress in supporting such legislation and advocating for its passage.
“It’s the right thing to do. It’s probably long overdue,” he added.