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Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy

The Connecticut Massacre
and the “Gun Regime”


By Ludovica Amici

Translated By Joanna Hamer

15 December 2012

Edited by Kyrstie Lane

 


Italy - Il Fatto Quotidiano - Original Article (Italian)

A hundred rounds shot at innocents, mostly children. This time it happened in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., at the hands of a 20-year-old who shot his mother, a teacher at the school*, before turning on her students and other adults.

It is a tragedy that echoes the anguish of 1999, when two students opened fire at Columbine High School in Denver, Colo., of Virginia Tech, and of many other cases like this. And one that again brings up the issue of arms control.

Weapons can be bought as easily as candy, with the same ease and enthusiasm with which you can buy and play a video game. On the Internet, just type “how to buy a gun” into Google and suddenly there is an online bazaar where anyone can buy or send away for a gun. There are also no federal restrictions on the quantity of ammunition that an individual can buy. In many states, bullets are sold on supermarket shelves, next to everyday household items.

The debate over guns in a country like the United Sates, one of the most armed and most violent in the Western world, a country where many children already pass through metal detectors on their way into school, has reopened. The right to own arms and defend oneself is a central principle of the American identity. Carrying a handgun is considered a civil right protected by the Second Amendment. Consequently, the United States is one of the leading manufacturers of weapons in the world.

Illegal markets fuel terrorism and acts like that in Connecticut, and the gun lobby is far too powerful. The National Rifle Association, for example, is a U.S. organization of firearms owners considered to be a powerful lobby with sway over large numbers of votes in elections. This lobby has stopped many potential gun control laws.

Michael Moore, who won an Oscar in 2003 for his documentary “Bowling for Columbine,” which deals with the use of weapons in the U.S., tweeted yesterday, “The NRA hates freedom. They don't want you to have the freedom to send your children to school & expect them to come home alive.” President Obama has sent only his condolences to the families in Newtown, accompanied by tears and rhetoric, because massacres like this will continue as long as there are semi-automatic rifles in the hands of the angry or sick and there is no immediate action to restrict gun ownership.

But the reason that the United States suffers from so many atrocities such as this is not only due to gun laws that are too permissive; the inadequate mental health care system is also part of the problem. It would be wrong to believe that more restrictions on weapons would completely prevent mass murders like this, because unfortunately they also occur in countries with very strict laws on weapons. But at least steps could be taken to limit this “gun regime.”

*Editor's note: Contrary to earlier reports, Nancy Lanza was not a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary.



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