Skip to comments.Massacres restart debate on gun control
Posted on 03/12/2009 7:13:16 PM PDT by Graybeard58
Two shooting massacres in Germany and the US this week have reignited the debate on gun control, but while Europe has in the past been been ready to tighten already tough restrictions the US remains more resistant to change.
Germany was in shock yesterday after a teenage gunman shot 15 people near Stuttgart in one of the worst incidents of its kind in the country.
In the US on Tuesday a man went on a shooting spree in Alabama after setting his mother on fire in her house. The 28-year-old, Michael McLendon, killed 10 people including five family members.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said the attack marked a "day of sorrow" for the whole country. In the US, where such massacres are all too common, Barack Obama, the president, made no statement.
During the presidential campaign Mr Obama trod a fine line between stressing the need to do more to prevent criminals from obtaining weapons while reassuring gun-loving voters he would respect the sacrosanct second amendment of the constitution, which protects the right to bear arms.
Mrs Merkel said in Berlin: "It is unimaginable that in just seconds, pupils and teachers were killed - it is an appalling crime."
A 17-year-old, clad in combat clothing, entered a school in Winnenden shortly after lessons began and fired indiscriminately, killing nine pupils and three teachers. After fleeing the scene, he killed a passer-by.
Later, two more bystanders, as well as the assailant, were killed after a shoot-out with police.
German media reported that the assailant's father was a member of a shooting club and kept a collection of at least 16 registered weapons in the family home. The attack re-awakened painful memories of a massacre in 2002 at a high school in the eastern city of Erfurt, when 16 people were killed.
The Erfurt attack sparked an unprecedented bout of public soul-searching in Germany and prompted the government to tighten gun ownership laws, by raising the minimum age to buy major firearms from 18 to 21.
A public outcry in 2007 forced Wolfgang Schäuble, interior minister, to drop plans to reverse this higher age limit, which had been proposed to bring German law into harmony with other European Union countries. "Safety comes first," Mr Schäuble said at the time.
The fact that tighter German rules failed to prevent yesterday's killings meant that politicians were unwilling to rule out further restrictions.
But Wolfgang Bosbach, deputy head of Ms Merkel's Christian Democratic Union parliamentary party, told the Financial Times it was "far too early" to talk about a political response.
Despite previous incidents, many Germans remain sceptical of introducing US-style security, including metal detectors and video surveillance into the country's traditionally liberal schooling system.
"The state cannot give a guarantee that nothing like this will happen again," Mr Bosbach said and warned against turning schools into "high-security wings".
Dietrich Oberwittler, a criminologist at a Max Planck law institute, agreed that politicians could do little more to prevent these kinds of attack, noting that state police had executed a specially designed rapid response plan but were not able to arrive soon enough.
"Guns laws are already very strict," he said. "It is extremely hard to recognise these people in advance."
While the Alabama shooting temporarily displaced the economic crisis on US television, gun-control advocates were not confident that it would help Mr Obama engineer any significant changes on gun ownership.
Ladd Everitt, communications director at the Washington-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said the president had shown little interest in pushing Congress to make changes that would outrage the powerful National Rifle Association.
Feb 2002 Former student at a school in Freising, Bavaria, kills three before taking his own life
April 2002 In Erfurt, eastern Germany, a 19-year-old kills 12 teachers, a secretary, two pupils and a policeman, before killing himself
Nov 2006 An 18-year-old former pupil storms a school in the western town of Emsdetten. He wounds 11 before killing himself
Remember the school shooting in Brtiain several years ago? The only way you will ever eliminate this sort of thing is to make human beings forget how a gun is made.
Note this debate is in Germany.
This will be the spark that starts the firestorm.
After 9-11, I didn't hear anyone calling for a ban on airliners!
Why isn’t it illegal to shoot people?
So they will whip up a crisis about gun control now?
Emmanuel said never waste a good crisis.
And how man were killed by the German GOVERNMENT in WWI and WII? Tens of millions? Tackle the big government nanniest/marxist/totalitarian problems and round up the socialists before you try to round up innocent gun owners.
gee more gun control in germany? when did that last occur?
I’ll take the risks of freedom over serfdom any day.
The last time a King sent his troops to confiscate the guns at an arsenal in Lexington, things got a bit out of hand. Maybe King Zero and his minions think it will work out differently this time.
It’s amazing that when such things happen, the media and liberals just start talking about gun controls. They don’t even stop and consider the killers that are doing such things. They just focus on the weapon(s) used to commit the crimes.
If somebody in the community had been armed they could have stopped the slaughter!
It never ceases to amaze me that the gun control nuts want to take guns away from the very people that should have them in the first place - responsible gun owners who use them to defend themselves and their families.
Governments made and paid with paper should consider the unintended consequences of starting firestorms.
Here is what you have to remember. If someone wants to disarm you they do not have your welfare in mind. They want to control you and can't do it if you are armed.
Went to a little ole local gun shop today. Rural community....I find a Brand spanking new, larger building, new last year....and already building on another area just as large.......parking lot full.
The prices made something other than a “tingle” run down my leg, though.
Already tough? Does it even ever enter their skulls that maybe Gun Control Does Not Work! The proof is laying all around while good honest people cower in their basements unprotected till the madmen run out of ammo.
Hey. Stop making sense.
This is an emotional matter.
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