The killing of 12 civilians, and the injuring of around 60 others in a movie theatre watching the new Batman film in Colorado today have reignited the long-running debate as to whether civilians in America are able to purchase guns legally. The so-called “Twitterverse” has erupted with celebrities in support of the ideology of a larger scale of gun control in the United States. Said celebs include Piers Morgan in particular, who has remained typically outspoken on the matter: “More Americans will buy guns after this, to defend themselves, and so the dangerous spiral descends. When/how does it stop?” A fair point, if ever there was one.
As I write, even as a Brit I think I speak for many of us in our tiny island nation when we would like to extend our wholehearted condolences to those injured, and to the families of those that have sadly passed as a result of an act of pure lunacy and blunt insanity. The killer, James Holmes, had dyed his hair red and told local police that he was “The Joker”, an everpresent Batman villain. He first entered the cinema and started shooting at random bystanders, before he managed to break in to the theatre that Batman: The Dark Knight Rises was being shown and opened fire, managing to hit 71 people in total, 12 of which dying as a result of their wounds. Holmes was swiftly arrested at the scene. At the time, he was armed with a rifle, a shotgun and two pistols, all four of which he bought LEGALLY in the months prior to the attack.
It says in the American Bill of Rights that “Every American shall have the right to bear Arms”. In truth, the simple fact that the right for any civilian to own a gun being knitted into the fabric of national law is immediately going to cause a problem in that some will see (rather delusionally) that owning a weapon is a basic human right because their ancestors said they could have one.
I just want to say now that Holmes himself was clearly mentally deranged in his thought processes and his use of the weapons at his disposal were barbaric and is a once-in-blue-moon occurrence. But the fact of the matter is that the laws in individual States vary, and some are more lenient towards weaponry than others. Colorado state law states that there is no limit to the number of guns you can purchase, as well as the sale of automatic weapons being permitted. Citizens can keep unlimited numbers of guns at their homes, in their offices and in their vehicles, but have to have a permit to have guns in public. Because apparently that makes all the difference.
This may just be my British-ness talking, but I truly don’t understand the necessity for State Law in the US. Surely if there were “blanket” laws that covered the whole nation, like in most countries, there would be a much better understanding of what’s right and wrong across the whole nation. I understand, however, that the severe far-right and/or far-left nature of some states may make Congress completely counter-productive and would mean that laws would constantly be changing with whoever was in the White House. But please, for the sake of the World, America, just use your common sense before something so sickening happens again.