Guns Kill People. Period.

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This writing is not going to earn me any Christmas card from the zealots at the National Rifle Association or best wishes from the unyielding adherents to the Second Amendment.

Guns kill people. Period.

The tragedy at Virginia Tech should open our minds to a problem our nation refuses to confront. The easy access to guns and lethal weapons is a national disgrace.

In Virginia alone, gun owners are limited to one purchase a month. Some limitation.

I can hear the response from the NRA already: People kill people. Yes, but they do it with guns and too frequently with those easily accessible weapons.

The condolences from the NRA are of little comfort to the mourners of those slaughtered in Blacksburg.

The NRA, to put it bluntly, has too many willing friends in Congress from both political parties. Campaign cash flows to them in hefty amounts. Members of both parties should be ashamed.

The Second Amendment, a biblical passage to its followers, may give a right to bear arms. It does not, however, give a license to kill. Try telling it to the NRA.

I was raised in South Dakota, where hunting pheasants and ducks is a tradition. In those less chaotic days, no one had ever heard of Saturday night specials on the quiet streets of Sioux Falls or in the hunting fields for that matter.

Hunting is perfectly legal. There are accidents. Ask Vice President Cheney.

But the NRA and its PR machine cry foul at any attempt to restrict access to guns. It is not a sport to hunt wild game with an Uzi or other semiautomatic weapons.

We need to tighten existing laws or limit the frequent purchases like those of the disturbed student at Virginia Tech who had no trouble arming himself to the hilt.

A few weeks ago, the House of Representatives shelved a voting rights bill for the District of Columbia. The action came after a Texas Republican offered an amendment to repeal the D.C. ban on guns.

In time, the rampage at VT will be off the front pages and evening newscasts.

What is it going to take for us to finally wake up?