America has a gun problem. Many think the problem is assault weapons, large capacity clips or armor piercing bullets, but those are merely symptoms of the core issue. Others think it’s mental illness or violent video games that are to blame. However, other countries have similar levels of mental illness and play the same games without the gun violence that plagues us in the “land of the free.”

The real problem is money. Yes, money. Since 1968, there have been about 1.38 million gun deaths in America. Since 1776, there have been a little more than 1.17 million Americans killed in all our wars, according to PolitiFact. In the last 50 years, more citizens have lost their lives to gun violence than have been killed in all wars and battles we have fought in our 242 year history.

In 2016, the NRA spent $54 million to secure Republican majorities, including $30.5 million to elect President Trump. In direct contributions to politicians, gun-rights groups gave $106,000 to Democrats and $5.9 million to Republicans, in effect purchasing them to not protect citizens from out-of-control gun violence. And who received more money from the NRA than any other representative? That’s right, our hometown guy, House Speaker Paul Ryan. His “moment of silence” is a career of obedience to his owners, the NRA. The solution is simple. We need only endure until November to begin correcting the problem. It's time for him to go.

RICK BRUNTON

Beloit

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