Another American shooting rampage and another round of questions over the country’s gun control laws.
Some 30,000 people are killed each year by firearms in the United States; one-third or more US households own guns and suspicion runs deep of government whenever it proposes expanding federal authority. Some owners do not see why this latest mass murder should mean tougher legislation.
Earl Curtis, owner of Blue Ridge Arsenal Gun Store said: “The last three or four incidents have been males, 15-25 years old. Any incident has involved that age group. What’s causing the problem? Why is there such a disconnect or why are they just snapping? So mental health is really the issue here instead of gun control.”
But gun control advocates, like former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, say the US can no longer rely on the idea that personal responsibility is enough.
“There’s a perceived notion that people have a right to walk around with loaded weapons which just stuns me. When are we going to learn? How many more lessons do we have to have?” said Dodd.
In the wake of the school killings, one local authority is taking action to rid its streets of firearms.
Baltimore has launched an amnesty programme which encourages people to trade-in their weapons for food vouchers.
In 1996, following a spate of mass killings Australia introduced a similar scheme, buying back semi-automatic and assault rifles, and banning the weapons. Since then, there have been no gun massacres there.