The United States continues to bleed from its pernicious gun culture. The latest outrage at a Florida school gives a sense of painful déjà vu, with an expelled student gunning down 17 children and injuring at least 15 others with an AR-15 assault rifle. Wednesday’s carge brought back memories of the Connecticut school in which a former student went on a rampage in 2012, shooting dead as many as 26 school-kids. The then US President Barack Obama had made a fervent appeal that the time was nigh to move towards meaningful gun control, as such mass shootings had hitherto only led to public hand-wringing but little else. However, politics raised its head as the influential pro-gun lobby tiol Rifle Association (NRA), counting among its supporters the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dold Trump, went on overdrive to stymie all gun regulatory proposals. Solemn vows were taken to keep intact the US Constitution’s Second Amendment, which protects the right of citizens to keep and bear arms on the premise that ‘a well-regulated militia is necessary for the security of a free state’. A section of thinkers have been pointing out that the US, the world’s largest military power, has moved far from what it was in the 18th century — the former British colony that set great store by its citizen militias. However, under the Trump administration now, it is the NRA that gets its way. There has even been talk of allowing teachers to tote guns in schools! Last year, the school safety industry in US reportedly sold equipment worth 2.68 billion to schools, including bulletproof vests and backpacks for students. But with such attacks occurring in greater frequency, the US experience bears lessons for countries faced with arms proliferation.
US Gun Culture