Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms in the United States. And in the vast majority of those cases, the killers had obtained their weapons legally.
Now, in the aftermath of yet another devastating school shooting (the three guns used by Adam Lanza to kill 20 children and 6 adults were legally owned by his gun-enthusiast mother), we are hearing the inevitable cries: WHY won’t the United States DO SOMETHING about gun control? Why can’t the Americans get it together and stop this sort of horror from ever happening again? How can so many deaths be allowed to occur as the result of legally purchased weapons?
All sorts of ideas are being tauted: A gun buy-back, restrictions on who can purchase a firearm, better controls on where guns can be carried in public places, revoking the much heralded ‘right to bear arms’…
But reform, quite simply, isn’t that easy.
Why not? The Second Amendment to the American Constitution reads as follows: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
And that has basically been interpreted to mean that Americans have an entrenched right to carry a gun. As a result, plenty of American households are taking up that right with gusto, keeping a gun in their house or workplace. There are more than 300 million privately owned guns in America – that’s approximately one for every citizen.