To The Editor:

A young couple shopping for school supplies for their 5-year-old, a grandfather grocery shopping with his wife and granddaughter, a 60-year-old bus driver, a 15-year-old boy, young adults out enjoying a summer evening and so many more; all residents or welcomed visitors to El Paso, Texas, or Dayton, Ohio, exercising their constitutional right to live openly, freely, and without fear.

Lives cut short, terminated by men who chose to abuse their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Since that day over two weeks ago, Americans have re-engaged in the seemingly endless search for solutions to gun violence. We’ve heard calls for red flag laws, background checks and better access to mental health care. But real solutions seem to elude us and, after a time, we’ll probably turn our collective attention to some other important issue until it is wrenched back to this reality by the next senseless act of mass murder. How do we end this madness? To properly frame an answer to this question we need to take one critical fact into account. A clear reading of the overwhelming amount of research on this subject finds only one credible reason for gun violence: easy and, unfortunately, legal access to firearms.

We are challenged by a clash of constitutional rights. The right to live openly, freely, and without fear has been infringed by those choosing to abuse their right to bear arms.

Conflicts such as this are not new or unusual. Local, state and national governments exist for the express purpose of mediating and resolving them in ways that promote the common welfare. Their best solutions are crafted with the intent to mitigating or eliminating that which causes the most damage or greatest harm.

Over one week ago the lives of 31 people were terminated. Their rights were irrevocably destroyed. Many people in this community believe, as I do, that the right to life is an absolute right. If that is the case then protecting those rights by limiting access to firearms is not just necessary, it is an obligation imposed on those who govern us. And to those of you who do govern, fulfill your public calling. Do the hard work you promised to do when elected. Do something that really makes a difference.