Three mass killings between June 17 and July 16 (in Charleston and Holly Hill, South Carolina, and in Chattanooga, Tennessee). These incidents did not occur in bastions of gun control run amok and are fitting cases to test the National Rifle Association’s favorite retort: “The best remedy to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

How’s that working out? I agree that having armed sentries at all off-base military offices is appropriate, but are we to post them at all theaters and places of worship?

Where is the NRA as the casualties mount? Oddly, uncharacteristically mute. But I’m sure they are quietly twisting arms, writing big campaign checks and not all that upset, as each incident creates a new run on the unchecked arms vendors.

The national NRA moved away from representing law-abiding gun owners and hunters years ago. Now they protect only their own huge salaries and the huge profits of gun manufacturers.

They are right about one thing: There is a slippery slope, and because of their three decades of unfettered influence, we have slid down to a very dark place.

Both sides of the aisle lack the backbone for even the most sensible of gun control measures. All the recent tragedies might have been mitigated if any had been pursued:

A ban on fully automatic weapons (Chattanooga).

 A ban on high-capacity clips (Charleston).

 Effective background checks (all).

How have we responded in Maine? Now everyone over 21 here can carry a concealed weapon with no background check and no gun safety training required.

No other country in the world has near the level of armament as this one. The Founding Fathers never had this in mind. Surely, the NRA-authored track we have been on these many years is not working.

Eric Van Note