US must rethink its gun laws

After an elementary school shooting spree in Connecticut (USA) in which 20 children were killed, debate has once again started on whether the USA needs to re-think its gun laws. Considering that there have been several shootings in the US, where a lone gunman has gone on the rampage, targeting public places and more often educational institutions, it is surprising that gun laws are still in the stage of debate.

Every time there is a shooting like Friday’s with horrendous and tragic consequences, the US media, the public and politicians weigh in about changing the country’s gun laws. It is time for the country’s policy makers to talk about how much freedom is too much.

Critics continue to stress that the gun laws are extremely lax and they may have some substance as people have easy access to the purchase of guns. There also needs to be background checks and limits on people allowed to buy firearms. Consider that the Connecticut killer was only 20-years-old and one must think if the country would benefit on having an age cap on people who are allowed to buy guns.

Now, reports are filtering in that the shooter Adam Lanza may have been mentally ill. The US needs to consider whether gun owners need to have background checks, criminal records, history of mental illness and other checks and balances before they are cleared for buying a gun. One knows that this kind of background checking entails problems and perhaps there are certain loopholes but it is one way in which one could possibly screen individuals wanting to possess guns.

Reports state that many Americans still see gun toting killers as crazy or deranged lone wolves who are either mentally ill, seeking to avenge a hurt or simply angry, frustrated or misguided individuals. And yet, many are against flat out bans on guns.

It’s time to start looking at such shootings in a different light and a possible overhaul of laws may be the only answer.

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