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As a parent and teacher, I am greatly saddened by the killings in Newtown last month. Doubly so, because they were enabled by an increasingly violent gun culture.

During the 15 years I lived in Berlin, Germany, I felt safer than in any American city. Why? Gun ownership by civilians was very limited and strictly regulated.

Depending on the type of gun license, one had to be older than 18, and prove trustworthiness, personal adequacy, expert knowledge and necessity.

Psychological evaluation was required for prospective gun owners under the age of 25. And you couldn’t just go out and buy an assault weapon in a store like Walmart, either.

It is my strong belief that, if similar laws had been in effect here in the United States, then individuals such as the Columbine students, Seung-Hui Cho, James Holmes, and Adam Lanza would not have had such easy access to deadly assault weapons and ammunition.

I do not believe that the Second Amendment was intended as a carte blanche for anyone to own any type of weapon. More is required to get a driver’s license than a gun permit. Is that right?

Virginia Palmer-Fuechsel