Despite contrary arguments, it takes more than a mentally or emotionally deranged person to commit a mass murder. It also requires a weapon that can kill as many people as possible before the murderer is stopped by proper authorities.

The weapon usually chosen is one designed and intended as a weapon of war, but legally sold to the public. Thus, what was once the reasonable use of guns by hunters and target shooters has turned into an opportunity for large-scale killing of innocent citizens by temporarily disturbed individuals.

Many believe they have a right to own these weapons, and any others they chose, based on the Second Amendment. However, that interpretation conflicts with the murder victims’ right to life, a right proclaimed as inalienable in our Declaration of Independence.

The current legal right to bear arms stems from a 5-4 vote on the interpretation of the Second Amendment by the Supreme Court Justices. The fact that the justices were not in total agreement indicates the tenuousness of this decision. I would side with the more foundational Declaration, which supports the inalienable right to life than the right to own any weapon of choice, and believe we should enact that principle into law and, if necessary, amend the Constitution to do so.

The way we work this out speaks to what we value and what we will become as a nation. Do we wish our children to live under police guard at school, parents to live in watchful fear for their children’s safety, for public gatherings that are no longer secure places, for police encounters that end in violence? Or, can we wish for welcoming environments, for children secure at school and at play, for a society providing well-being for its citizens, for police protection without fear of violent encounters.

A lot of this depends on how we address the gun issue.