Editor’s Note: This letter appeared in the Opinion Pages of The Miami Herald written by Irving Gerson of Miami. We found it important. It is brief and to the point.

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America has failed to protect its citizens from the deranged actions of a few irrational and mentally ill persons. The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the GOP believe that allowing weapons of war to be sold to anyone with an infantile fascination is a constitutional right that cannot be abridged by Congress or any state legislature.

Unfortunately, America does not have the constitutional writers to explain why there is a Second Amendment; there are the Federalist Papers showing how much there was a fear of a tyrannical government.

It seems that the killing machine of choice is the semi-automatic assault rifle. It holds large capacity magazines, that are easily changed. The trigger can easily be pulled rapidly for mass killing. Why would anyone need such a weapon? Play war with the general public?

It’s true that not all mass killing are committed with assault rifles or by the mentally ill. After each mass shooting the media do an exhaustive search of information about the killer. If the killer was not mentally ill, then we read about a lonely, angry, confused, antisocial person who was influenced by ISIS, the KKK or some other terrorist ideology.

I don’t blame the irrational or mentally ill person. I blame all of us for failing to act on the problem: It’s so easy for anyone to buy guns, especially assault weapons. The NRA tells people that they have a God-given right to have a gun. They are usually the majority of voters who go the polls in off-year elections. The rest stay home and watch TV rather than going out to vote for candidates who want to control gun sales.

In November, Americans will have a chance to vote for candidates for both houses of Congress, state legislatures, governors and a president who want to restrict the sales of guns and assault weapons. We need to study their positions on gun control and vote to prevent mass killings. Be aware. Only we can stop mass killings!

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