Never too far from the surface, the subject of gun control is currently on everyone’s lips in the United States.
The roll-call of US shooting tragedies is long, yet the deaths of 20 children and seven teachers in an elementary school in Connecticut have a singular capacity to shock.
The right to bear arms is enshrined in the US constitution and the gun lobby is well-established and influential. But questions are now being asked at the highest level.
“Words alone cannot heal our nation, only action can do that. Gun violence is a national epidemic and a national tragedy that demands more than words. We are the only industrialized country that has this problem. In the whole world, the only one. And that’s why we need immediate national action from the President and Congress. It should be at the top of their agenda.” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
For some, it is America’s state system of government that is to blame.“In the absence of a federal framework, in which we limit really the explosive nature of the weapons and ammunition that is used, no state would ever be safe based on simply its own laws” said the Governor of Connecticut, Daniel Molloy.
Public support for tighter gun controls has declined in recent years, corresponding with a drop in violent crime. But events in Connecticut last Friday may be in the process of reversing that trend.