Another shooting spree in the US

An 18-year-old killed 19 children and two adults in a mass shooting at a primary school in Uvalde, Texas, last Tuesday. US President Joe Biden expressed shock over the tragedy and called for stricter gun laws. "I'm sick and tired of it. We have to act," he said. Ex-President Donald Trump, on the other hand, has called for more rather than fewer weapons. Commentators criticise double standards on several levels.

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Le Temps (CH) /

NRA benefits from the fear

In many cases the weapons industry actually capitalises on shooting sprees like the one in Texas, Le Temps observes:

“Tragedies like this one often trigger a surge in gun sales as a side-effect, a kind of Pavlovian fear reflex. The Uvalde tragedy probably won't be an exception. It's easy to understand why the powerful NRA, dogged by infighting and fraud under its golden armour, did not see fit to cancel its convention, which until Sunday took place just a few hours' drive from the site of the shooting. In 1999, it held a convention in the wake of the tragedy at Columbine High School (15 dead, including the two killers).”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

The cynicism of the US gun lobby

The Kleine Zeitung points out contradictions in Trump's appearance at the NRA:

“For the Republican figurehead Donald Trump, the solution lies in teachers being armed and schools becoming high-security zones equipped with metal detectors and security guards. That's just how we picture the primary schools we want our children to attend. The ex-president, who wants to be re-elected, also says 'gun-free zones are the most dangerous places'. How cynical: he said all this at the annual convention of the National Rifle Association, the mighty advocate of guns - in a hall where guns were explicitly not allowed.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Tougher rules for the sector are needed

The Financial Times looks at ways to ensure that gun manufacturers in the US are held accountable:

“In the absence of federal action, shareholders can still put pressure on gun manufacturers, and retail outlets, to behave more responsibly. Uniquely, the gun industry has legal immunity from the effects of its products. Imagine if pharma companies were shielded from the consequences of bad drugs or automakers from faulty engines. The same rules must apply to Smith & Wesson, American Outdoor Brands and other gun manufacturers.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Just a quick trip to the local store

Corriere della Sera explains how easy it is to procure a gun in the US:

“The perpetrator turned 18 on 18 May. The first thing he did as an adult was go to a shop and buy two semi-automatic rifles and a handgun. There's nothing easier than that in Texas and many other states. All you have to do is show some ID, fill out a form that no one checks, and of course pay. ... An AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle like the one used to mow down 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde costs about 350 dollars. As much as a mobile phone. You have to be over 21 to buy a bottle of beer in Texas, but not to buy guns and ammunition.”

Delo (SI) /

Address the underlying causes

Delo calls for more prevention to thwart mass killings:

“American society needs to think about more effective help for the families and environments in which mass murderers grow up. Like many before him, the Texas killer was humiliated by other kids his age and came from a dysfunctional family. ... Until there are more effective measures to prevent such acts, people around the world will vividly remember the images of distraught parents running to schools, fearing that their worst nightmare has come true. And they will be aware that we, too, lose a part of ourselves through the violent death of any human being.”

Imerodromos (GR) /

A culture of fear

Imerodromos discusses the values that make the US what it is:

“What kind of society has a population of 325 million and an estimated 350 million(!) guns in its households - so at least one gun for every American, irrespective of age! ... This is clearly a society permeated by the 'culture of fear'. ... And one of unbridled individualism. This is a society based on the glorification of 'power' and the 'right of the strongest'. A society of ruthless competition and reactionary violence as a means of self-assertion.”

El País (ES) /

A macabre failure of the regulations

El País is flabbergasted by the political incompetence of the US:

“An intricate and ancient web of interests between the arms industry and politicians prevents any major reform of the laws. ... The gun lobby blatantly identifies with the Republican Party, but the Democrats have never dared to address the issue, which cuts across all strata, especially in rural areas. ... The polarisation of the United States in this century has only exacerbated this perverse dynamic. ... There is no significant political movement that can prevent a relapse within a short time to the macabre ritual of the failure of weapons regulations.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Lax US-style gun laws would be a nightmare in Poland

Rzeczpospolita's editor-in-chief Bogusław Chrabota criticises the liberal gun laws in the US and warns against relaxing them in Poland, where the war in Ukraine has prompted calls for this:

“How many more such massacres will there be before the US Congress gets serious about the issue? ... It may take a tragedy on the scale of September 11 (which I do not wish on the American people) for this society to come to its senses. ... Meanwhile, I fully support restrictions on access to firearms in Poland, driven by the horror scenario of Polish gangsters getting their hands on weapons like machine guns instead of kitchen knives and axes. That would be real chaos. It sends a shiver down your spine.”