The Aurora killings have unleashed a powerful wave of emotion across the United States.

Perhaps it was the photograph of the clearly desperate Irish American Tom Sullivan as he appealed for help to find his bartender son Alex that personified the awful event best.

In that father’s anxious face was every parent’s utter nightmare, the reality that his beloved son was missing and probably killed because as a society we have failed to live up to defending our own people from such madmen as the killer, James Holmes.

Surely we can do better than allow a lunatic to purchase 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet and buy as many guns as he wants from a gun store.

Even Rupert Murdoch, whose publications and Fox News fuel the gun lobby, said there is a need for better gun laws.

Sure, the NRA supporters will trot out the usual rhetoric that people kill, not guns, but if guns and ammunition were not so easily available perhaps that six-year-old little girl would still be alive today and her devastated mother, also badly injured, would not be mourning her.

There are some realities that are plainly wrong. The notion of the Second Amendment giving blanket rights to gun owners is one of them.

Sure, hunting and self-defense are two American staples and there are, no doubt, millions who enjoy hunting and feel the need to have a personal weapon.

But that is not the same as allowing semi-automatic rifles that can fire 100 bullets a minute and mow down defenseless people.

It is not the same as ordering thousands of rounds of ammunition over the Internet with no checks or balances on what can be bought, or reporting to local police that some weird guy has just gone and done that.

How much freedom is too much?

Close to 9,000 lives are lost due to firearms in the U.S. every year. The total number of homicides in Britain is about 600.

The difference?  British people cannot have unfettered access to guns, and there is no powerful crackpot lobby insisting, despite all realities to the contrary, that such access should be encouraged.

We wonder how the NRA honchos get to sleep at night when such a massacre happens? Are they able to wash their hands of the whole issue and pretend they have no responsibility?

We are not saying to ban all guns, especially if people feel a need to hunt or have one for personal protection.

But surely the madness that multiple gun sales, Internet ammunition deals, complete access to every possible form of death dealing rifle and automatic machine guns imaginable is way too much for civilized society.

We hope that in 100 years people will look back and wonder how on earth this country took so long to get sensible and enact sane gun laws.

Unfortunately in recent years the trend seems to be the opposite as the NRA dances its deadly dance of more guns that lead to more killings.

It is past time sanity returned and gun control laws were enacted. The faces of the dead in Aurora are just the latest example of what happens when bad people access guns with no difficulty whatsoever.

It is time to shout stop.

A memorial for those who died at the shooting in Aurora, COThe Associated Press