There are life events one never forgets: weddings, births and, sadly, illnesses, deaths and funerals. The shootings in El Paso and Dayton brought back haunting memories of gun violence.

When I was a Loyola University student in Chicago, a classmate was murdered at gunpoint trying to protect his girlfriend in a robbery. The perpetrator disappeared.

In 1997, my friends’ 19-year-old son Brendan was shot through the eye in a robbery. His parents decided to pull the plug because he was brain dead and someone else could benefit from his organs. His funeral felt indescribably hopeless.

Our Founding Fathers wrote an imperfect Constitution that has required many subsequent amendments. Those who rabidly defend their right to own firearms point to the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

As our Founders argued about forming militias and accessing single-fire muskets, could they have ever envisioned individuals entering schools and malls, firing powerful weaponry and bringing pain to so many?

Ironically, these Second Amendment defenders are seldom equally protective of the First Amendment rights of those practicing non-Christian religions or freedom of speech and the press.

We always hope the latest shootouts result in action, but then another massacre occurs. Why must the rights of a few misguided shooters keep taking priority over the safety and security of the men, women and children of this country?

Please support candidates and legislation favoring sound, sensible regulation of firearms. Write letters to the editor. Reach out to friends and family. Go bold: Turn in your own weaponry and tell others what you’ve done. Make this the day you turn a corner and say, “Enough!”

Diane M. Denk

Democratic state representative

Kennebunk


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