America, the beautiful; America, a nation that slaughters its children. Baby sitters, playmates, fathers and mothers, boyfriends and girlfriends - the list of killers is endless. And their victims - an endless list of children.

Earlier this year, 40,000 pairs of shoes lined the streets of Washington, D.C., representing the victims of gun violence in one year. The right to bear arms, a constitutionally protected right, is increasingly taking away our most precious inalienable right - life itself. We urgently need gun control to save our children and ourselves.We have become a nation blinded by the love of guns. Guns are becoming a basic household item, abundantly accessible to all - law-abiding citizens and criminals, the young and the old. Recently, unprecedented action was taken in Georgia's biggest county to address this problem. Atlanta and surrounding area residents will soon receive warning labels on guns they purchase similar to ones on cigarette packs.

Part of the solution to the frightening problem of gun violence is: teaching solid family values, implementing stricter sentences for gun-related crimes and legislating gun control.

We must support legislation like the Brady Bill and the Crime Bill and legislators who have supported these measures. Here in Utah, Karen Shepherd is the only one who supported action for gun control and a ban on assault weapons despite the powerful lobby of the NRA. Gun control does not seek to destroy the NRA or guns, it simply looks to put reasonable, life-saving regulations on guns. The grim gun-violence statistics clearly show an urgent need for a balance in our society with the use of guns and the right to own a gun.

Janita Andersen

Salt Lake City