Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

The challenge is not gun control

It would be naive to assume that, even if strict gun controls could be enforced, US schools would become safe overnight (News, December 18).

After the Dunblane massacre of 17 schoolchildren and teachers in Scotland in 1996, legislation was introduced which effectively made private ownership of handguns illegal in the UK.

Yet we had another massacre in 2010 by a licensed firearms holder, who managed to kill 12 people and injure 11 with a shotgun and a bolt-action .22 rifle.

Where there are guns of any description available to the public (and I can't see us ever getting rid of sporting guns), the opportunity for mass shootings by mentally ill people remains.

Even if they can't get guns, they can still mow people down with their vehicle, as happened earlier this year. Restricting access to guns is probably a good thing, but it won't stop massacres.

A much tougher challenge is to reliably identify and contain potential homicidal maniacs before they can do catastrophic harm by any means at their disposal.

ANDY KNOTT

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