Over the next decade, approximately 300,000 Americans are going to die because of gun violence. That’s two orders of magnitude more American deaths than the Sept. 11 attacks. Against that yardstick, the American obsession with guns and gun rights is complete insanity.

This, to me, suggests that it’s time for a new NRA: The No Rifle Association. Until and unless gun control organizations start framing the current conversation as existential – the way the current National Rifle Association does – we should accept that we are collectively sentencing 300,000 of our fellow Americans to death over the next 10 years.

Sen. Susan Collins has been a voice of reason on this issue, much to the chagrin of her own party. And I implore Angus King to join her and their fellow senators in developing a common-sense approach to unfettered access to guns in America: mandatory background checks, a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, a ban on suppression devices and a ban on armor-piercing bullets.

As a small state, with two senators, we have disproportionate power in this country. Our elected leaders should wield that power to save those 300,000 Americans from a horrible, flesh-shredding death.

Brad Smith, M. Ed.