When it comes to mass shootings, the obvious elephant in the room is the very ability of our citizens to buy military-style assault weapons on the open market.

You can have background checks, extreme vetting and pretend to be an “instant psychiatrist,” but the product still remains available to the buying public. The common thread of any of these mass shootings is the amazing firepower of assault weapons.

Living in a state where hunting is a major recreation and puts food on the table for some, I have no problem with hunting rifles. Hunting is part of our culture. However, hiding behind the “implied rights” of the Second Amendment in order to own a gun designed for maximum kill power does not negate my inalienable right “to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

We can change this, but first we have to acknowledge that these weapons enable the killing of lots of people.

Jake Hawkins