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Nishi-Nippon Shimbun, Japan

US Must Pass Gun Control This Time

Translated By Richard Burck

21 December 2012

Edited by Lau­rence Bouvard

 


Japan - Nishi-Nippon Shimbun - Original Article (Japanese)

Over and over again, the sinfulness of the gun society continues to be apparent. At an elementary school in Connecticut, a twenty-year-old man trespassed on school grounds and carried out a mass shooting that left 26 people dead, 20 of whom were six- to seven-year-old students.

The suspect used three assault rifles and was found dead after committing suicide. After murdering his mother at home, he invaded the school, where the principal rushed to stop him and a 27-year-old teacher tried to hide her students in a separate room. At this time he opened fire. It is believed that the shooter’s poor mental health triggered his deadly rage.

The tragic murders of these children right before Christmas has sent shivers across America like never before.

President Obama stated that gun control would be a central issue for his administration, and presented his plan to create a team of cabinet officials in his administration to create gun control legislation.

Every previous attempt to raise the issue of gun control in America after a mass shooting has been unsuccessful. This time, gun control advocates must effectively present their arguments.

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution clearly states, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Since America’s founding, gun ownership has been the spirit of the nation. “Guns aren’t the problem,” argues the National Rifle Association, a powerful political lobby which opposes any gun regulations.

Although the Constitution grants the right to bear arms, I doubt it was meant to forbid any government regulations ensuring the safety of society. As a matter of fact, legislation prohibiting the manufacturing and sales of assault rifles was temporarily enacted during the Clinton administration in the '90s. However, the legislation was allowed to expire during the Bush administration in 2004. Ever since, gun control had ceased to be a major political issue and wasn’t even brought up in this year's presidential debates.

However, Obama understands the feelings of the American people. He is currently considering reviving the assault weapons ban. He even called on Congress to write a bill. They can’t let the opportunity go.

In Japan, Sunada Kouichi from Fukuoka wrestled with gun crimes in the U.S. His 22-year-old son was studying in the U.S. when he was shot dead by a robber in New York. Two years earlier, Yoshiro, a 16-year-old boy from Nagoya studying in Louisiana was shot and killed. Japanese children who were passing by Sandy Hook Elementary School barely escaped the tragedy.

The direction America takes on gun control is thus relevant even to the Japanese.

From our point of view, a society that allows anyone easy access to rifles is absolutely dysfunctional. The shooter’s mom was a gun enthusiast and her guns were legally owned. That is the problem. If she didn’t have guns, the situation would have been avoided. I hope the American people will acknowledge this.



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