I am heartbroken over the Newtown slaughter. I find it hard to fathom the utter horror of that day. We quickly learned who the shooter was, but the question of who was to blame is, unfortunately in my mind, very clear. We, collectively as a society, must share the blame for this senseless and preventable atrocity. For far too long, we have let the misguided beliefs of the National Rifle Association dictate national gun policy.

The NRA membership is only 1.4 percent of the population, yet its lobbyists have succeeded in preventing any meaningful regulation of private gun ownership. They have succeeded in this endeavor by embracing what is, in my mind, an erroneous interpretation of the Second Amendment. Spineless politicians from both parties, the Supreme Court, and the full membership of the NRA have the blood of these innocents and countless others on their hands.

The weapon used in this shooting and other mass killings was an assault rifle. It was designed solely to effectively kill as many humans as possible. As such, it truly is a weapon of mass destruction and has no other practical use. There is no sane reason for them to be available to anyone other than law enforcement officers and the military.

To paraphrase President Obama, as a society, we are better than this. My hope for a lasting legacy from this horrible act would be that it marked the end of the unearned and undeserved power of the NRA over the remaining 98.6 percent of the population.

We, as a caring and just society, must demand an end to the lunacy of unrestricted and unregulated gun ownership as defined by the NRA. I am a gun owner who believes in common sense gun laws.