This is an archived article that was published on in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In the debate over gun control, a key issue is being ignored. Instead of emphasizing personal liberties, we should be talking about protecting public health and safety.

In many other arenas we limit individual freedom to protect the lives of others. When someone has a highly communicable disease, she or he is quarantined. Even dogs with rabies are isolated to prevent transmission. You wouldn't want a person infected with Ebola virus walking the streets and kissing your children. We also limit the use, and particularly the sale, of dangerous and addicting drugs.

Last week a woman in Florida shot and killed her two teenage children for talking back to her. Three weeks earlier, a mentally unstable man used a repeating handgun to kill six people and wound many more in Tucson, Ariz. More than 30,000 Americans lose their lives to gun violence every year.

It is the potential victims whose lives we should focus on protecting. Putting modest limits on types of weapons and who can own them is a small price to pay for enhanced safety and security.

Dana Carroll

Salt Lake City