Friday, July 20th, 2012
By Yulia Monakhova
The Denver shooting has once again brought the discussion whether strengthen gun control laws could reduce terrible cases of violence in the US. The United States is the country with the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world. There is a gun for almost for every person living in US. And this right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment, but there is no law that could justify such cruelty as occurred in Denver.
The Denver shooting that took lives of 12 people and injured 50 more during the premier showing of the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora movie theater. Sometime after midnight a heavily armed 24-year-old male entered the movie theater.
Witnesses say the gunman was wearing all black and a gas mask. Most people thought that his appearance was a part of the show until the masked man open fire and started shooting at random people. A witness to the shooting said that it sounded like firecrackers until someone ran in yelling “they’re shooting out here!” – Denver Post reports. A chaos broke down after that, people were running to emergency exits to save their lives. Shortly after the police arrested the gunman, who was behind the movie theater.
Unfortunately, as devastating as such tragedies are no one considers this to be an isolated case. Just two days prior the Denver Shooting the Associated Press reported of a shooting in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A 44-year-old gunman stood outside of a crowded downtown bar and opened fire from two different positions. At least 17 people were hurt before the police arrested the shooter.
On April 2, 2012 a former student of Oikos University in Oakland, California shot at people inside the college killing seven and wounding three more. It was the third-deadliest university shooting in United States history.
Same year, February 27th will now forever mark a tragic shooting at the Chardon High School, when a seventeen-year-old T.J. Lane at approximately 7.30 am began shooting in the cafeteria while students were eating breakfast. According to reports, Lane just stood up and began shooting, killing three people and injuring three more. These are just some examples of gun violence that happened within the first half of 2012.
Gun control is one of the hottest and most controversial topics in the US politics to this day. The Obama administration has planned out a long list of gun control reforms to the current gun law, including adaptation of the Arm Trade Treaty. But seeing how the Congress is hostile to even the slightest restriction to the Second Amendment rights (the right of an individual to own a firearm for the purposes of self defense) it will not be an easy job to carry out. And of course there is the National Rifle Association which is not only the largest and best-known gun rights and gun sports advocacy group in the US, but also a very powerful lobby group. NRA has been viciously protecting the gun ownership in US since 1871.
But with each year that passes voices of gun control groups, such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun violence, are heard more often. The Brady Campaigns’ mission is “to pass and enforce sensible federal and state gun laws, regulations, and public policies through grassroots activism, electing public officials who support common sense gun laws, and increasing public awareness of gun violence”.
According to the Brady Campaigns’ website in the US there are an estimated 283 million guns in civilian hands, which is almost one gun for every man, woman and child in the country. Current federal law requires criminal background checks only for guns sold by licensed dealers, which account for just 60% of gun sales. Meaning that two of every five guns acquired in the US are sold without a background check. This includes guns bought at gun shows, between individuals and even through the internet. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in one year 31,593 US citizens have died from gun violence and 66,769 people have suffered gun injuries.
The arms industry is a global business that has the entire world participating. It is estimated that yearly over 1,5 trillion dollars are spent on military expenditures worldwide. But there seems to be a global effort in adopting stronger gun control laws around the world. Thus from July 2nd to 27th the Arms Trade Treaty or ATT will be negotiated among the 193 UN member states. The Treaty will establish common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.
The ATT’s objective is to help prevent human suffering by controlling the gun trafficking. Such measures are absolutely necessary on the global, because the worn-out slogan “guns don’t kill, people do” might be somewhat true, but it is also true that no mass murder has been carried out with a knife.