Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gun control: the US view

Via Guardian newsblog - article contains many useful links

By Matthew Weaver / USA 09:48am

After the deadliest mass shooting in American history you might think that Virginia Tech killings would prompt a rethink about gun control in the US. But No. If anything American's stance of the right to bear arms is hardening, judging by what the bloggers have to say.

Trish and Halli, two harmless looking old ladies who post "great recipe" suggestions from Idaho, argue that some of the 32 deaths could have been prevented if guns had been more freely available.

Halli posts: "If some students and faculty had been carrying their legally permitted guns today, it is likely that a few deaths would have occurred. However, in at least two instances the murderer chained classroom doors closed and proceeded to fire at students. In all likelihood an armed student would have stopped him before 32 people had been executed."

Similarly Frank Staheli argues that if more students carried gun there would be fewer spree killings.

The National Rifle Association is reluctant to be drawn on the issue. But Gun Owners of America demands a end to gun-free zones in schools and campuses. It says: "It is irresponsibly dangerous to tell citizens that they may not have guns at schools. The Virginia Tech shooting shows that killers have no concern about a gun ban when murder is in their hearts."

So what about the politicians? The leading Democratic presidential contenders all steer clear of advocating gun control. Instead Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all turn to prayer.

According to Robin Toner on the New York Times political blogging site the Caucus says that Democrat hopefuls don't want to harm their chances of election by calling for gun control as Al Gore did in 2000.

John Nichols in the Nation argues that US has failed to learn the lesson of Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine.
While Raised in Chaos calls for a deeper examination of the malaise in American society.

She says: "The issue is not guns, and while I personally believe there should be no need for them in a "civilized" society, and that fucking ANYONE shouldn't be able to pick up a rifle and a pack of Cheetos at your local Wal-Mart, this is not the context in which to have this debate. Instead, when a man with a gun (and do we know yet if he was a student or not?) strolls into a college dormitory at 7 a.m. and starts shooting people at random, we really need to take a critical look at the kind of society we live in."


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