Again we read shocking reports of a shooting in an American school where pupils and teachers alike are mown down by a disturbed person wielding a military-type machine gun. The general response in America seems to be, ‘Guns don’t kill people, people with guns do.’
Or, ‘it isn’t about guns; it’s about people with mental health issues’.
The favourite response from the powerful gun lobby is, ‘the only thing that can stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun’. The Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, was written way back when a musket was the most lethal weapon which took time to load and gave the intended victim time to flee.
This law, which still exists, allows almost anyone not only to walk into a gun shop and buy a gun, but allows them to quite legitimately buy an automatic assault rifle of the type which only the police or military in our country would be allowed to possess. And yet we are told this is the civilised country in the Western world that leads us all.
They seem to think the answer is to equip teachers and security staff with yet more guns to retaliate to any attack, more guns not less guns. President Trump is vehemently supportive of the Second Amendment so we will see no action from that quarter. Obama tried but was stopped at every attempt by the gun lobby.
How lucky we are in our country that to possess a shotgun or sporting rifle, the purchaser must pass stringent suitability tests, be licensed and have secure metal cabinets to house both gun and ammunition.
And under no circumstances could any citizen in this country buy an automatic weapon.
The only thing that will see any change in America is a President who has the strength of character and the will to legislate against this madness. However, American opinion seems to indicate, both from Republicans and Democrats alike, that the overwhelming majority of citizens just love their Second Amendment and it will be a very brave leader who is ever to change this entrenched attitude.