Belfast Telegraph

And still America sticks to its guns about the right to own firearms

By Lindy McDowell

Another week. More gun deaths. And yet America's strange (to us anyway) romance with openly available weaponry continues.

Example.

An ad in a New Orleans newspaper invites the public to a gun show to "Buy, sell and trade guns, knives and related items."

Related items? Missiles? IEDs? Tanks? Who knows what they mean.

Ladies, the ad adds chivalrously, "are especially welcome" to this firearms fiesta. Annie, you can still get your gun.

Meanwhile, in other arsenal ads, a gun range promotes its services to customers "over the age of 14". Facilities, we are assured, are "clean and safe". The thing that strikes you is that hygiene concerns appear to have equal standing with any worries you might have about safety on the range.

Not to mention reservations about whether it is a good thing to allow 14-year-old children to practise with real artillery taking pot-shots at targets in the outline of human beings ...

In a New Orleans street this week, I came across a strange bloke (swivel-eyed loon would not be far off the mark) ranting about the US spying on its own civilians. A defender of whistle-blowers and liberty and privacy in general, he is also waving a poster of a cartoon depicting "bad guys with guns" shooting "good guys without guns".

No friend of Piers Morgan's then. He is pro-gun lobby.

A young, smartly dressed Obama supporter is heckling him. The Obama man also says he stands for freedom and rights. But "Snowden?" he snarls, referring to the latest US whistleblower. "The state should shoot him. I'd shoot him."

From all sides in the US there seems to be a complex, bewildering, continuing support for firepower. From a European standpoint you can only think ...

God Help America.

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