THE Connecticut school massacre that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults has again brought to the fore the issue of gun control in the US.
President Barack Obama, during his first term, avoided tackling the politically sensitive issue of gun control but the frequency of such incidents has given a new voice to campaigners who want strict gun control laws.
The gun control debate is not new in the US. This issue has been raised time and again when such tragedies hit the American society.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act were passed in the wake of the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King and an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. However, these two legislations failed to serve the purpose as the powerful National Rifle Association spent millions of dollars to oppose them and extracted major concessions even though laws were passed by the chambers of the US Congress.
A major concern was raised when a gunman killed 12 people and injured more than 50 at a movie theatre screening the new Batman film in Aurora, Colorado last July. The gunman, apart from buying three weapons from gun dealers, bought thousands of rounds of ammunition online.
Tragedies like the Connecticut school will keep happening unless strict gun control laws are put in place. First of all, sale of assault guns to civilians should be banned and more strict restrictions should be imposed on purchase of guns and ammunition online. Besides, more comprehensive personality record, socio-economic background of gun owners should be mandatory.
President Obama has talked about taking meaningful action to prevent tragedies like the Connecticut school but did not specify the measures. Free from compulsions of a re-election, President Obama must take this problem head-on.
Monday, December 17, 2012
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