Outright prohibition is only way to stop US gun violence epidemic

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 June, 2016, 12:17am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 June, 2016, 12:16am

Following the Orlando shooting which claimed 50 lives, US President Barack Obama said in his weekly address that the easy access to weapons of war is unconscionable.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees an individual the right to bear arms with the view to maintaining the security of the country. Yet, time and again, different shooting incidents have told us that keeping a balance between protecting that right while stopping an irresponsible, dangerous few from inflicting harm on a massive scale is simply delusional.

Admit it: the epidemic of gun violence has got out of hand and thousands of Americans have been mown down by guns. Every time, as Americans mourn and grieve the loss of lives, a concomitant reaction is some ill-fated discussion on the laws governing possession of weapons.

But the discussion on the tightening of these laws seems to gather dust every time it is broached.

Some take the stance that not every senseless act of violence can be prevented and violence cannot be nipped in the bud. But if there is even one thing we can do to reduce it, shouldn’t it warrant some thought?

So what has essentially been done over the years? Pitifully little.

Sideline measures – the strengthening of background checks on buyers, stepping up of law enforcement, assistance given to schools to hire more resource officers – have failed to tackle the crux of the matter.

The community is still living under the looming threat of violence.

America does not need a bill that would make it harder for criminals and people with mental illnesses to get their hands on a gun, but a bill for outright prohibition.

A blanket ban on gun ownership will be an uphill battle because of the country’s strong tradition of gun ownership and robust opposition from people like Donald Trump, who had no qualms in saying that the Orlando shootings might have turned out differently if the club’s patrons had been armed.

If the surge of violent shootings is any guide, it is not hard to fathom how violence begets violence.

With presumptive Democratic and Republican candidates holding polarised views on the matter, security seems to be more elusive than ever.

We can’t stop every act of violence. But should this epidemic be allowed to continue?

Borromeo Li Ka-kit, Happy Valley