Blame lax US gun laws

Blame lax US gun laws

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People gather at a memorial to the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
People gather at a memorial to the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
Photo: Reuters
All eyes are on America after a horrible shooting in Connecticut left 26 people dead, including 20 innocent children at a local elementary school.

Reportedly, the 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, was mentally disturbed. But what is really to blame is America's lax gun-ownership laws.

This tragedy follows many similar ones in recent months and years.

It is no coincidence that most mass shootings happen in the US. Disturbed and violent people exist all over the world but only in the US do they have such easy access to guns. Many of them obtain firearms through legal means, like Lanza, who used his mother's guns.

Defenders of US gun laws like reciting the cliche that "Guns don't kill people, people kill people". But people can kill others much more easily if they have guns. And it poses no problems at all for ill-minded individuals in the US to obtain powerful killing tools. That makes mass shootings far more tempting to many of them. I believe that having fewer guns means that fewer people will get shot; statistics support my argument.

Given the frequency of these massacres, I guess it is safe to say that America cannot handle the freedom of private gun ownership. This constitutionally guaranteed freedom has been severely abused over the years. The answer should be to gradually disarm American citizens. The government would need to start with a solid plan.

Trust in the nation's police force should be firmly re-established. It's this lack of trust that causes many Americans to rely on self-defence. Distrust in the police implies distrust in the government. Politicians have to act without delay.

Currently, 90 per cent of the US population have at least one gun at home. This figure reflects badly on American law enforcement officers. It indicates that families feel insecure in their own homes, while some people who own guns pose a threat to their neighbours.

Meanwhile, loopholes in gun-ownership regulations mean that potential mass murderers may be issued licences to carry firearms.

The US must ensure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking reminder of the shooting in Connecticut is that those deaths could have been prevented. One way to pay tribute to the victims is by making sure that such tragedies do not happen ever again.

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