It is impossible to not be horrified and shocked by an assault weapon rampage that in one month has cost at least 50 Americans their lives, including eight residents of a Carthage nursing home.
But we need to offer more than sympathy — we should pledge to end gun violence, no matter the opposition or the difficulty.
When gun violence strikes we shake our heads, we mourn those lost and some of us ask “Why?” Then, unfortunately, we shrug our shoulders and return to our lives. Gun violence is the only epidemic that as a country we’ve written off as incurable.
It’s an epidemic, however, that we know how to treat. Rules on safely storing  and handling firearms work to stop violence before it begins. Sensible gun legislation keeps weapons out the wrong hands.
It appears our state legislators haven’t all gotten this message. During this month of horrific violence we’ve also seen a crop of dangerous bills proposed. Instead of working to prevent gun violence, SB 782  would repeal the required permit for handguns — providing no way to keep domestic violence abusers and the dangerous mentally ill from obtaining a deadly weapon. Worse yet, the “Shoot First”  bill provides almost total immunity to someone who chooses to use lethal force.
Rather than working with law enforcement to create safe environments, our legislators seem to be telling us that our safety us up to us. Is this really the best we can do: a return to the days of the Wild West, with everyone packing heat?