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 In the wake of the recent mass shootings, we hear a lot about the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gives the people the right to bear arms. What we don't hear enough about is one of the inalienable rights spelled out in the Declaration of Independence -- the right to LIFE.

It is not unusual for rights to conflict, and the solution is usually reasonable limits on those rights. The classic example is that the right of free speech does not grant the right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. The right to gun ownership should also be subject to reasonable limitations in order to protect the public safety and the right to life.

Most Americans agree. The NRA and its unconditional supporters need to realize this and stop equating sensible limitations with a total denial of gun rights. The right to own a gun will be best preserved when it is exercised responsibly and is accompanied by respect for the rights of others to live in safety. It will be lost if it continues to be defended as an absolute right, not subject to reasonable limitations which would help protect the public safety.

The right to gun ownership does not trump the right to live a life free from the threat of gun violence.

STAN SUTHERLAND

Flagstaff

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