Pretending that gun violence is not a national pandemic is similar to denying that life-threatening climate change is taking place, or denying that financial deregulation led to the 2008 economic crisis and devastating, lingering decline ["McCarthy renews push on ammo," News, Jan. 4].

The majority of citizens, and worse still, our elected leaders, refuse to acknowledge and accept that there is a problem in the United States: Lobbyists and their special interests, not the people, control our legislative process. We need a national dialogue about this.

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Whether one looks at the National Rifle Association or Wall Street, they have lobbying in common, which places special interests and corporations ahead of people.

It's time for elected officials, who are paid with our tax dollars, to respond to our safety and health, and develop the moral fiber, backbone and core fortitude to confront and block the lobbyists' systems, and focus on what is good for the country and its people.

If such change is not substantively and immediately made, we must fire those in charge in the next round of elections. It's time for lobbyists to realize that even if they have to give up a little, they will still be leading wealthy, comfortable lives. In this circle, greed's inaction is destroying us economically and environmentally -- and, now, increasingly, gunning us down.

Dustin J. Friedman, Huntington