James A. Everett, Johnny Stabno, Grant McMurray, Ken Johnston, Terry and Betty Snapp, Doris Foley
Missouri’s 5th congressional district, Independence

To the editor:
Congressman Cleaver,

We have all been saddened, even traumatized, by the horrible violence that occurred in Newtown, Conn., where 28 people were gunned down: 6 teachers, 20 children ages 6 and 7, the gunman and his mother. No words can fully express the sorrow and sadness of such an event.

However, one of saddest comments heard several times over the radio and on TV was, “The gunman used automatic and semi-automatic weapons that are readily available on the open market.”

No country can guarantee absolute security to all of their citizens, particularly when violence is perpetrated by demented persons, but they can materially diminish the amount of damage. No other country in the world allows its citizens open access to military ordinance as we do in the United States of America!

While the National Rifle Association was not directly involved in this latest tragedy, every leader of that association must accept the fact that some of the blood of those little ones is on its hands. We applaud the many good things the NRA does; but that good is more than offset by its distorted interpretation of the Second Amendment that in all too many cases leads to pure evil. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

We appeal to you and the Black Caucus assist President Obama if he pushes a bill, or to sponsor and fight for a bill that does something. It may not totally solve a complex problem, but there should be a bill that outlaws the availability or sale of military ordinance to civilians. While many members of Congress have been subject to the political largesse of the NRA, members of the Black Caucus have certainly been on the short end of that stick; thus having to face less financial loss measured by political contributions.

If there is anything of good to come out of these repeated tragedies, it would be for you as political leaders to show your mettle in placing strong restrictions on military ordinance that is now readily available on the open market for purchase by civilians.