Massacres will keep happening until gun laws are tightened

Morning View

Over the last decade in America, there has been an average of about one gun massacre a year in which a dozen or more people have been killed.

The killings often have a copycat quality.

On Sunday night in Las Vegas, more than 50 people were killed at the latest such massacre at a country and western concert. Hundreds of concert goers were injured.

Last year, almost 50 people were slaughtered at a night club in Orlando, Florida.

Other mass shootings with large death tolls include the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007, in which 32 people were killed and the Sandy Hook gun shooting in Connecticut of 2012, in which 26 people were killed, 20 of them children.

Most of these attacks have not been terrorists incidents. Most of them have been carried out by deranged lone attackers.

It is certain that there will be others, stretching into the future. There is little that can be done to prevent them apart from controlling access to guns.

Such controls in most western countries have made massacres far less likely than they are in the United States.

But while controls within the US vary from state to state, the right to bear arms is cherished under Article Two of the constitution.

No matter how many massacres there are, and no matter how high the death toll, there seems to be little prospect of a major tightening of gun control in America.

As a superpower, the US will make up its own mind on guns. There are historic reasons for the attachment to the right to hold guns, dating back to the very first settlements in north America in the late 1500s and early 1600s.

The first surviving Belfast News Letter from 1738 has a report on the “murder” of four families in Virginia by Indians and the “great apprehension” it caused.

So controlling guns is a matter for Americans. But if it does not happen, a by product of the right to bear arms will be these appalling and tragic massacres.

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