Facing the tragedy of the Connecticut shooting, we are desperate to do something. Politicians especially are eager to be seen to be solving the problem.

Unfortunately, most of the suggested remedies are ludicrous. Two misconceptions need to be corrected.

* The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that the Second Amendment refers to individual rights, as does the Maine Constitution, in spite of many ill-informed efforts to reinterpret these rules of law.

* So-called assault weapons are not automatic, which would require federal permits; they are autoloading like many Maine shotguns, hunting rifles and even many of the almost-ubiquitous rural .22 rifles.

Blaming the tools and methods of deranged people is useless. Mass murderer Richard Speck stabbed and strangled his victims; Ted Bundy beat and strangled his victims; Timothy McVeigh used a truck and fertilizer to kill 168 people including many children and injuring more than 800. The 9/11 terrorists used boxcutters and airplanes to kill nearly 3,000 people.

In the past 10 years, 300,000 people have been killed by motor vehicles in the U.S. without our blaming the vehicles.

The last federal ban had little effect on crime, and last year the gun-banned city of Chicago had 500 murders.

Deranged and evil people find ways to kill, whatever the method, and to restrict the rights of law-abiding people by exploiting a tragedy for political purposes under the guise of gun control is a cruel and manipulative agenda, knowing it will have little practical effect.

Federal background checks are useful, but we don’t prosecute the almost 2 million fraudulent attempts since 1994.

We shouldn’t pretend that we have accomplished something useful by banning tools used by vast numbers of law-abiding people.

Robert Martin

New Sharon

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