The Connecticut shooting which left 20 children and six adults deceased at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown might ultimately lead to rigid gun control in the US. Within hours of the news spreading across social networks, newswires and TV broadcasters, there were calls from gun control lobbyists and politicians alike to reign in gun laws.
The White House announced last week that Vice President Joe Biden is to lead the gun control task team, which aims to propose new gun control policies in the wake of the shootings. Meanwhile, amidst talks from both sides of the pond about gun reform, there have been reports of gun ‘buy back’ programmes across the US where citizens are handing their guns to police departments in a huge gesture of solidarity to Sandy Hook casualties.
The country’s largest pro-gun lobbying group, the National Rifle Association kept unusually quiet in the immediate wake of Sandy Hook and released a statement a week after the shooting, in which it promised to ‘offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this ceases to happens again.’
In an emotional speech given at an interfaith vigil in Newtown just days after the event, President Obama gave strong hints that he was considering some sort of gun law and promised to use “whatever power this office holds” to prevent more lives being departed.
James Cooke, former Scotland Yard officer with over 30 years experience in gun and knife felonies, described the shootings as “a corner-turning event” which he believes may lead to inflexible gun laws.
The main challenge, he said, is the use and volume of “high-powered automatic weaponry” which enables citizens to fire dozens of rounds rather than just one or two.In addition to having unrestricted access on the amount of guns a person may own, it is relatively easy to buy ammunition. America’s gun policies seem poised for change.
“My strong belief is that automatic weapons should be confined to gun ranges only and locked up in safe storage rather than being kept at home,” said Cooke. “It should be harder to buy ammunition, too. And mental health is also a huge challenge. The weapon is just a tool for a person’s behaviour.”
Yet Cooke is convinced that the shootings may be the turning point for reform and ultimately, a safer America.
How may new gun laws reduce the overall felonies rate in society?