Police respond to a Walmart in Springfield, Mo., on Aug. 8 after reports of a man with a weapon in the store. (Harrison Keegan/The Springfield News-Leader via AP)

This incident described in the Aug. 11 news article “Armed man at Walmart in Missouri claimed he was testing rights, police say” points directly to the need to repeal all open- or concealed-carry laws. Along with universal background checks to close as many loopholes as possible, federal red-flag laws and an assault weapons ban, this would be the first step to serious common-sense gun safety. I doubt it will happen and assume there will be more mass shootings before Congress reconvenes.

Not calling the Senate into session immediately tells us all we need to know that the GOP and White House have no intention of making America safe again. It is a stall to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reelected. Violent video games and mental illness are everywhere, but not gun violence, because the rest of the world understands that “it’s the gun, stupid.”

Patricia Ranney, Millersville

There were many good ideas in the Aug. 13 Tuesday Opinion essay by Cassandra Crifasi, Harold Pollack and Daniel Webster, “Where to start on preventing gun violence,” but the start was not addressed. We need to start with the foundation of the dilemma: the Second Amendment.

We can have all the academic debates we want about what it really says or means, but until we confront the issue head-on, the right wing, and many conscientious Americans, will have difficulty facing the facts.

Having a gun in the United States today should be a privilege, not a right. Much of what is being proposed today reinforces that position. So why not start by making that clear? Just like the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th, we need to propose and pass an amendment that states what we really mean — the privilege to bear arms shall exist and shall be well regulated. Until then, we are doing nothing more than starting an argument.

Stephen D. Ahlbrand, Columbia

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