News / USA

Shootings Prompt Calls for Stronger US Controls on Guns

Lisa Ferdinando
The shooting rampage last week at a Connecticut elementary school that killed 20 children and six adults has reignited the gun control debate in the United States.

In New York City Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a plea for President Barack Obama and Congress to agree on stronger national gun control regulations.

"It is time to pass an enforceable and effective assault weapons ban, one that isn't riddled with loopholes and easy evasion," he said at City Hall, surrounded by survivors of gun violence and relatives of people killed in shootings.

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"Congress should also ban the high-capacity magazines that have been used again and again in these mass shootings," said Bloomberg.  "These weapons and ammunition can be used to kill large numbers of people quickly, and regulating them certainly falls within the bounds of the 2nd Amendment."  

Guns can be easily obtained in the United States, and ownership is a right guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  There are prohibitions on gun possession, including by certain convicted criminals and those judged mentally incompetent.

A previous ban on assault weapons expired in 2004.  Democrats on Monday spoke out in the Senate in favor of renewing the ban.  Senator Dianne Feinstein has said she will reintroduce the legislation.

A look at how the U.S. ranks in comparison to the rest of world when it comes guns and gun violence.
 
The U.S. has the highest gun ownership rate in the world. 
 
GUN OWNERSHIP PER 100 PEOPLE
 
1. United States  -  89
2. Yemen            -  55
3. Switzerland     -  46
4. Finland            - 45
5. Serbia             - 38
 
--------------------------------------------
 
Despite the high number of guns, because of its large population, the U.S. does not have the worst firearms murder rate.
 
GUN MURDERS PER 100,000 PEOPLE
 
1.  Honduras     -  69
2.  El Salvador  -  40
3.  Jamaica      -   39
4   Venezuela   -  39
5.  Guatemala  -  35
 
The United States ranks 28th, with a rate of 3 per 100,000 people
 
-----------------------------------------
 
*The U.S. is one of the leading countries in the number of deaths attributed to guns.
 
NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED BY FIREARMS IN 2010
 
1.  Brazil              -  34,678
2.  Colombia         -  12,539
3.  Mexico            -  11,309
4.  Venezuela       -  11,115
5.  United States   -  9,146
 
Source: UNODC & Small arms survey of 2010 
Republicans, who tend to be stronger gun rights advocates, have argued that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. They also have said gun control regulations will impede law-abiding Americans from defending themselves, and will be ignored by criminals and those with violent intent.

At a vigil in the town where the tragedy occurred, President Obama Sunday said he will use whatever power his office holds to engage fellow citizens in an effort to prevent more tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.  

"Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting, the fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims," he told mourners.  

"And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America -- victims whose much of the time their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time," said President Obama.

Authorities say the guns used in the attack, including a high-powered rifle, belonged to the mother of the shooter and were legally owned.  The gunman is alleged to have killed his mother in their home before going to the elementary school, killing the adults, and children who were six and seven years old.  Authorities have revealed no motive.  The gunman killed himself at the scene.   

President Obama said Sunday no law or set of laws can "eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society."  He said he will be engaging a range of citizens - law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators - about how to prevent such violence.

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by: Derek from: NY
December 19, 2012 4:58 PM
In DC v. Heller, the US Supreme Court held that the 2nd Amend protects an individual right to keep & bear arms of the kind in common use of the day. That would include semi-auto AR-15s & the like. Assault rifles are full-auto machine guns & illegal to possess and the weapon the Newtown, CT shooter used was not an assault rifle. Semi-auto rifles like the AR-15 are commonly used in shooting competitions and legally owned by over 1.5 million Americans who don't commit any crimes w/ them. A ban on such weapons likely would not pass constitutional review. The real issue is why are there so many violent mentally disturbed people in the US & how can we do something about it. Knee-jerk legislation won't prevent such tragedies & shame on those politicians who use the blood of these victims to exploit their political agenda.

In Response

by: steve from: QLD
December 19, 2012 6:55 PM
Derek, You are right regarding mentally ill people acquiring guns is stupid. But pray tell how are you going to stop it when Mummy has 3 or 4 weapons in he home and she shows sonny how to shoot them!!!
What is wrong with licensing, if you love your guns, and by the way it is an obsession in the states and the rest of the world look on and wonder. You can get teh appropriate gun licence and keep your guns.
This right to defend yourself amuses me, defend against what, is America that bad that you have to walk around with a gun checking behind your back all the time. Check your stats please see how many innocent American adults and children have died over the years form shootings. Is it over 12,000 now!!! WOW. Mostly from semi-auto weapons. I had guns up until 15 years ago and I dont miss em one bit. Dont need em and glad to have gun laws. It's plain common sense, some say this is a knee jerk response, for goodness sake step out of your box and take a good look at yourselves.
As I said its an obsession that needs to be restrained and changed.


by: Heshukui from: China
December 18, 2012 6:50 AM
For the United States! God is against gun control!


by: Kevin from: Australia
December 17, 2012 6:31 PM
One intellectual giant from the NRA recently said it's deplorable that the teachers didn't have guns in order to protect the children. Really? A full-scale gun battle in the hallways of a Primary School? That's intelligent.

In Response

by: TheBThing from: Melbourne
December 18, 2012 2:37 AM
It's called aiming.
When you sum up your expectations, one of the teachers stormed the shooter and was mowed down. This was weakest and lamest means to stop him, very courages on the less but, If she had access to a gun, then she could have taken him out with far more confidence.
The schools need a gun cache so teachers can access them in the event of any attack. This should be in all nations, those with gun bans and those with gun freedoms.
Principles and volunteer teachers should be offered weapon's training.
More protection goes on money surrounding banks then children in schools!


by: STEVE from: QLD AUSTRALIA
December 17, 2012 6:12 PM
It's time America realised whilst guns are easily acquired, there will always be massacres like this. It will not stop, and for the NRA to say its not the gun that kills people its people that kill people is and old and very poor reason for allowing anyone and everyone have a weapon.
Australia's gun laws came into being in 1996 and no shooting massacre since that year. UK has had gun laws for decades, in fact all of America's allies have sensible gun laws.
How many more innocent kids and adults have to die America to satisfy the selfish few who love their guns.

In Response

by: Derek from: NY
December 19, 2012 4:54 PM
Actually more people use guns in the US for self-defense than for crimes. According to several studies between 300K and 1.5M Americans use a gun for self-defense, often w/o firing a shot, annually, which far outweighs the number of murders in the US. In the past 20 years the overall crime rate has decreased even as gun ownership has increased, according to FBI stats. In the UK, which practically bans nearlly all guns, the crime rate has been increasing in the last 10 years.


by: TheBThing from: Melbourne
December 17, 2012 5:36 PM
The chart is misleading as America has the greatest number of gangs which creates a high numbers of gun crimes.

America is also awash with psychiatric drugs which is the cause of rampage shootings.

Solve the gang and drug problem and you are back to a nation founded in freedoms and protected so with the right to bear arms. America is the envy of many Nations.

In Response

by: Steve from: QLD
December 19, 2012 7:05 PM
I an sorry Bthing but I wonder if you really believe what you are saying. From what I am reading you would be one man I would be steering clear of if you were armed.
As for teachers in schools being armed with a cache of weapons you must be mad mate, absolutey mad!! So teacher is now resonsible for defending her class or school against a fully armed fool. So Bthing the teachers weapon will be where, behind the blackboard in a cupboard in her desk (where anyone can grab it) or maybe she/he should where it like John Wayne on her/jis hips. I cant beleive I am writing this pfffft.
So your answer to mass shootings is to make sure more guns are out there to defend against um I am over such trollop.
All I can say Bthing is go live in America take your silly ideas with ya. Maybe start up a gun shop. Or stay In Australia where mass shootings havent occurred since Port Arthur, because the government had the sense to put an end to it!!

In Response

by: Kevin from: Australia
December 18, 2012 8:11 AM
You're exactly the type of person who should never have access to a firearm. Each time you say something, you're supporting the argument for tighter gun control.

In Response

by: Kevin from: Australia
December 18, 2012 12:47 AM
That's absolute bollocks. You have no idea what you're talking about, so just keep quiet.

In Response

by: Steve from: qld
December 17, 2012 10:08 PM
So TheB thing You say America is the envy if which nations, certainly not Australia.
As for Right to Bear arms, well that can be done, but with appropriate procedures and licenses like the rest of the industrialised world. Tell me Bthing if one of your kids was shot multiple times what would you be saying then. Secondly my friend this was not gang related and as far as we know neither drug related.

As My Father said ( he was a policeman in England for many years) if a person has a temper tantrum in England now, the best weapon they can acquire is a knife or a saucepan or bat etc. not an automatic military weapon. To have their weapon they are to collect and sign for it at their local police station.
Guns are to easily a part of a very short term temper tantrum or similar realated cases.
Licensing will give them a cooling off period

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