Lack of gun control in the US affects people all over the world

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 May, 2007, 12:00am

I am responding to the letter by Carlton Cash, 'No serious political talks on gun control' (April 22), as I believe that his message is misguided, for several reasons.

First of all, many places and people, especially those in Hong Kong, are aware that US courts continue to interpret the constitution in such a way as to perpetuate the ready sale of firearms. Yet to say that comments on this are unsolicited, and a matter for Americans alone, is incorrect.

The US has, for much of its history, been the world's largest maker of guns and exporter of weapons. This, therefore, affects not only visitors and residents in that country, but also people all around the globe.

I recall in the early days of the Lebanese civil war, in the late 1970s, that the vast majority of all weapons and handguns in Lebanon were from the US. In this regard, nothing has changed in the last generation except that there are more - and more dangerously sophisticated - weapons, many made in America.

The Bill of Rights does not state that citizens may own and drive a car or plane, because they didn't exist at the time. But what responsible authority would make it possible for anyone to buy and drive a car without licensing, testing and careful regulation?

How does it make sense that guns, with no purpose other than to kill, can be so much easier to obtain and use than these transportation technologies?

The right to bear arms in the 18th century was intimately tied to the frontier and pioneering existence of the colonies then, as well as the need and desire for protection from various political forces and European powers, led by Britain. That age has long passed.

The reason there is not yet serious debate in America about gun control is simply politics. The huge gun-company lobbies and the associations of country folks who use guns for hunting and sport control the electorate in so many locations that Americans are paralysed by their court's interpretation of the constitution against change. This is a tragedy for America.

Toby Marion, Pok Fu Lam