Gun laws must be changed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 April, 2009, 12:00am

We see it over and over in the news: yet another shooting in an American school or university.

These tragedies take lives and leave the survivors distraught. And yet despite these happenings, it is still very easy in the United States to buy and own a gun.

I understand some people believe they need guns to protect themselves, especially if they live in the countryside and may be threatened by large, wild animals. But many people acquire guns for less understandable purposes.

What's more, guns may be a method of self-protection, but they are also a guaranteed way to end a life.

I really hope the new American government changes the laws relating to gun ownership. Otherwise, we can expect to hear of even more tragic losses.

Wan Yat-fu

From the Editor

Thank you for your thought-provoking letter, Yat-fu.

The National Rifle Association of America works to protect the Second Amendment of the country's constitution. The association believes this law allows people to own a gun for 'lawful' purposes, such as self-defence in the home. It is known for justifying gun ownership with catchphrases such as 'Guns don't kill people; people kill people'.

Unfortunately, America's violent crime rate is so high, it may seem necessary for citizens to own a gun to defend themselves. But the relative simplicity with which people can buy guns is part of the problem: if innocent people who want to defend their families can buy them with ease, so can current and future criminals.

There is, obviously, no simple solution to the problem. If there were, it would not be an issue. But you're right in saying that the government needs to do something - and soon. Far too many lives have been lost in gun fights and school shootings. It's time for the situation to be addressed and the killings to stop.

Karly, Sub-editor