Robb Elementary School shooting – will America ever get a grip on guns?

We woke to the grim news this morning of another mass shooting in a school in the USA. Nineteen young children and two adults died in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in south Texas. The gunman, eighteen years old, had purchased two assault rifles and used them for a mass slaughter before being shot dead by police.

President Joe Biden just back from Asia made an emotion speech.

“As a nation we have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby. I am sick and tired of it – we have to act.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, reported to be close to tears, said:

“Every time a tragedy like this happens, our hearts break. And our broken hearts are nothing compared to the broken hearts of those families – and yet it keeps happening. So, I think we all know and have said many times with each other: Enough is enough. Enough is enough.”


But the resistance to gun restrictions, led by the National Rifle Association, is huge. No president has yet faced down the gun lobby.

A couple of decades I used to swig beers after work with the guys in a bar in Pasadena, generally liberally minded area. Despite the recent Columbine High School massacre, they were adamant that there was no need for gun control. They repeated the mantra: “Guns don’t kill. People do.” Missing the obvious point that if you can’t get access to high power weaponry, it is very hard to kill on mass.

That’s a lesson the UK learnt after the Dunblane massacre. But the Americans seem incapable of learning it despite the angst, pain and soul searching that occurs every time there is yet another mass shooting at a school, supermarket, church or event.

Connecticut’s Senator Chris Murphy, who represents Sandy Hook, made an emotional speech to Senate yesterday accusing the highest levels of government of doing nothing: “What are we doing? Why are we here?”

But there is already kickback from Republican senators, including Texas’s Ted Cruz.

How many massacres of innocents does it take before America realises that is no longer the Wild West but a nation that can and must control its lust for violence?

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • George Thomas 25th May '22 - 8:43pm

    “A number of states have also gone as far as to largely eliminate restrictions on who can carry a gun. In June 2021, for example, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a “permitless carry bill” that allows the state’s residents to carry handguns without a license or training.

    Similarly, on 12 April Georgia became the 25th in the nation to eliminate the need for a permit to conceal or openly carry a firearm. The law means any citizen of that state has the right to carry a firearm without a licence or a permit.”

    Background checks, basic training and a license doesn’t come across as heavy gun control to me so why is it only the Democrat voters who want stricter gun control?

  • Brad Barrows 25th May '22 - 10:03pm

    @George Thomas
    You ask a good question. I suppose the answer would be that if there is a ‘right’ to own and carry a gun, why would you need a permit. In other words, if you need someone’s permission, you don’t have the right.

  • Fine words from Biden and Harris, but words are not what is needed. Action is required. A presidential team that finally stands up to the gun lobby instead of weeping crocodile tears and doing nothing. Democrat congresspeople and senators who continue to oppose sensible action to regulate gun ownership should be replaced.
    Sadly, I don’t see any sign that this is happening, only more of the same refusal to act on or even see the problem.

  • Like Andy, I used to swig beers after work with guys in California and in slightly less liberal states like Hawaii and Colorado (site of the 1999 Columbine high school massacre).
    Gun laws don’t change, because so many people feel the need to be able to protect themselves and their homes against gun violence by owning a gun themselves.

    In its early days, the National Rifle Association was a grassroots social club that prided itself on independence from corporate influence. While that is still part of the organization’s core function, today less than half of the NRA’s revenues come from program fees and membership dues.

    The bulk of the group’s money now comes in the form of contributions, grants, royalty income, and advertising, much of it originating from gun industry sources.

    After the devastating shock of Dunblane, there was little resistance in the UK to the handgun ban. The USA, however, is a deeply divided society and no mass shooting, no matter how egregious, seems to be able to move public opinion towards a recognition that gun control as practised in most modern countries is the only solution to this ongoing tragedy.

    Sensible gun control might even help in moving the USA away from its dangerous attachment to maintaining overwhelming military might and towards a more cooperative and concillatory geoplolitical stance in global affairs.

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