The Berkshire gun activists who gathered at Park Square on Monday have nothing to fear from Governor Patrick's proposed new gun control bill, which is targeted at criminals and the kind of ammunition no one needs for hunting or to have around the house. They certainly need not concern themselves with Washington, D.C., where a congressional minority is working to thwart gun violence measures backed by the majority of Americans.

Contrary to the statement by one rally participant that "This isn't about dead children" -- an apparent and remarkably callous reference to the 20 children massacred in Newtown -- that is exactly what the gun violence measures in Washington are about. The Newtown slaughter is unique to an America awash in guns and with inadequate laws to regulate them. Scotland responded to a similar school bloodbath by passing strict laws to prevent a reoccurrence. Yet in America we remain frozen in time, prisoners of an amendment crafted when farmers used muskets to shoot at Redcoats. Muskets have evolved into assault weapons, and the next Newtown or Aurora is right around the corner.

Simple measures like restricting gun purchases to one a month are not targeted at lawful citizens but at the criminals who stockpile and resell guns to kill and cripple on our streets. In speaking up for their rights, gun owners must consider the right of innocents not to be gunned down in schools, malls, theaters and homes.