Gun control won’t be quick or easy in the USA but it has to happen - Kenny MacAskill

Last week saw the US endure not just another gun atrocity but several.

An officer in tactical gear carries a long gun while patrolling as a casket is unloaded for a memorial service for police officer Eric Talley. Talley and nine other people died in a mass shooting on Monday, March 22

From shopping malls to spas, and targeted against ethnic minorities in one case and just random slaughter in others. They’ve all added to a growing list from Columbine to Florida, with so many more in between and so many others that don’t even register here.

Sadly, it’s not just the mass murders that are committed by gun crime but daily murders across that great continent from shore to mighty shore. America has about 5 per cent of the worlds population but over 40 per cent of the worlds firearms. It’s reckoned that 30 per cent own a gun with another 11 per cent living with someone who does. It all adds up to there being more guns than people in the USA

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It’s worsened in recent years with “open carry” gun laws seeing people parading about as if they’re off to war and the Colt of Western movies being added to by automatic weapons that can cause carnage with one small burst. All that compounds the problem as most say they have a gun for protection. But as with young men and knives in Scotland until you can defuse the situation and explain that others aren’t doing so, the escalation and tooling up continues.

What an indictment of their society and that’s what leads to tragedy. I’ve a family friend whose son I know has been caught up in it. Under the influence of drugs and with mental health problems, a gun just lying about saw him perpetrate a wicked act. He’s not a bad kid but he’s done an evil deed and must be punished for it. Not though the current tariff of execution or life without parole that he faces, as all are capable of redemption.

But whilst it was him who pulled the trigger, it was American society that caused it, the proliferation of weapons and other social ills being the real perpetrators. Gun control won’t be quick or easy in the USA but a rolling back from firearms being ubiquitous has to happen, hopefully a younger generation can deliver it.