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Letter to Editor: Extreme partisanship on gun issue is sick

I am appalled by the latest school shooting in Florida. I became angry when mental illness was cited as the reason. People with mental health issues are far less likely to engage in gun violence. Higher correlations exist with domestic violence and being a victim of violence.

We might instead consider how sick our society is in the extreme partisanship in politics. Our democracy was set up to work through compromise and not a strict adherence to an ideology. When people hold to one extreme or another, or rather when a whole party does, this does not allow for the creative thinking for solutions that work for the whole. It's a setup for disaster.

The same seems to hold true for the guns issue. We have such a divide over extreme individualism in our society and our need to balance individualism with community and the welfare of all. If we don't work for compromise to assure the safety of children and others then neither side will end up with what they want.

Throughout our history, people have enacted safety laws regarding guns. Even in "Wild West" times, many towns forbade the carrying of guns into towns in order to protect the citizenry and keep violence at bay.

If everyone acted responsibly, we would need no laws or regulations. The challenge now is to enact the kind of regulations that allow the maximum possible freedom to possess and use guns while protecting the right to life of those who will be and are being killed because nothing has been done.

A large majority are in agreement that we need legislation to reduce gun deaths. Most think we need universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and bump stocks. Time will tell if those bought by the NRA will listen to the children fighting for safety or if the 159,000 survivors of school shootings, who will vote in 2020, will do it their way then.