Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Weapons in the USA: Hello from 1791

Recently, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in one of his speeches said that the U.S. should impose a ban on free sale of weapons. This statement was provoked by the recent tragedy when 20 children from an elementary school in Newtown were shot. Will the authorities adopt a new law and will it help to prevent frequent cases of mass murder?

Recently, the cases of mass murder in the U.S. became more frequent and became a serious issue for the American society. According to the mayor of New York, the adoption of amendments to the law "On Weapons" may significantly reduce the number of mass murders in the United States. According to Michael Bloomberg, currently neither the White House nor Congress can make such an important step. However, as suggested by the mayor, this state of affairs will not last long.

Michael Bloomberg is a member of the coalition of the opponents of illegal use of weapons that includes over 600 mayors of other American cities.

The tragedy that prompted consideration of new amendments to the law "On Weapons" occurred last week in Newtown, Connecticut. The shooter was a son of one of the teachers of this elementary school. He entered the school fully armed. In addition to two handguns, the young man was armed with a pistol and a rifle and wore a bulletproof vest - a standard, according to experts, equipment for such shooters. As a result of indiscriminate firing, 20 children were killed, seven more were wounded. Five teachers, the school principle and the shooter's mother were also killed. The murderer, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, was found dead. According to preliminary data, it was suicide.

Barack Obama said that this case would force everyone to think about the ways to prevent more such acts of violence. The President said that such atrocities could not be overlooked, and the authorities should take strict measures. In his speech the President also indicated that the government planned to consider amendments to the law "On Weapons" by limiting free sale of firearms in the country. This kind of statement was not the first one as Barack Obama said something similar in the summer of this year. The statement was made after another mass murder committed by James Holmes, who shot the audience in a movie theater in Colorado. The 24-year-old American killed 12 people and wounded 58. The tragedy occurred in the town of Aurora during the premiere of "Batman". First, the shooter let tear gas into the room, and then started shooting. He was armed with two pistols, a shotgun and a rifle.

Such mass murders have become commonplace for the United States. Other shootings that happened this year include the deaths of two people shot in a shopping mall in Oregon and the deaths of six members of a church in Wisconsin shot by Wade Michael Page. Such trends cannot leave anyone indifferent, and recently several U.S. senators proposed a new bill that would allow limiting free sales of "military automatic weapons." They believe that the authorities of the country must ban free sale of firearms designed to reach targets at close range. Earlier, some members of the Congress also supported the proposal to limit circulation of weapons.

The authorities are not the only ones concerned about the situation. A few days ago, citizens of the United States sent a petition to the authorities setting out their requirement to limit free sale of weapons in the U.S. The petition was signed by 125,000 Americans, which is exactly five times the 25,000 threshold required for a petition to be sent to the President. The petition was triggered by the shooting in Newtown. The shooter, Adam Lanza, killed 20 children with weapons legally purchased by his mother. The citizens who signed the petition are demanding that the petition is considered in the next few days with participation of representatives of both major U.S. parties.

However, as noted by some media outlets, the U.S. government, while acknowledging the existence of the issue of free sale of weapons, is not in a hurry to solve it. As noted by White House press secretary Jay Carney in one of his speeches, the problem existed, but was not particularly acute.

According to some international analysts, the problem is not the free flow of firearms, but the so-called human factor. The U.S. laws are such that if a person legally purchased a gun, they would not be able to use it without consequences even for self-defense. Those who choose to use a weapon, experts believe, issue themselves a verdict, particularly considering that death penalty is still in effect in many states.

It would be difficult to ban free sales of firearms in the U.S. because a law allowing free use of arms is one of the foundations of the U.S. Constitution adopted in the 18th century. At the time when the law was passed, people in nearly all countries were allowed to possess arms but not allowed to use them.

Many experts believe that if guns are not as accessible as they are now, the amendments will still help to reduce the number of such mass murders.

As noted by Corrie Terry, founder of "Mothers Against Murders and Shootings," the U.S. government is addressing the wrong problem - it legalizes marijuana, it is concerned about the people's rights to own a gun, but it does not think what makes mentally unstable people commit mass murder. In response, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said that next year the amendment to the law on sale of automatic weapons will be considered by the Senate and House of Representatives. Whether this measure would help to curb mass murder is not yet known.

Sergei Vasilenkov


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