These are the times that try our souls. Let me begin by rephrasing Thomas Paine’s words written in 1776.

By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils — a deeply divided and non-functional government, cities ravaged with gun violence and crime, homeless habitations without safety and some without hope, our work and entertainment places turned into killing fields and a future of laws that impact us all. “Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless person who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.”

While Thomas Paine wrote about common sense and the right for America’s independence, I wonder what his words might be today looking at the way in which elected officials prostrate themselves before the National Rifle Association and other organizations that support their re-election campaigns.

The pledge that elected officials take states: “I will not accept or receive, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable thing from any corporation, company or person, for any vote or influence I may give or withhold, as Senator (or Delegate) on any bill, resolution or appropriation, or for any act I may do or perform as Senator (or Delegate).”

With perseverance and fortitude, all of our elected officials must stand up to the NRA and honor the pledge they took. Cowardice and submission to the NRA have given all of us only trying times and broken souls.

Common sense isn’t so common, is it? Enact safe, smart gun safety laws now.

Anne Sbrocchi

Marsh Cove

Charleston