The theater shooting Friday in Colorado has renewed gun control debate
in the United States.
The Colorado shooter was able to arm himself because gun ownership
in the United States has been protected by the U.S. Constitution since
1791. At that time, the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the
Constitution, were ratified to protect personal freedoms that had been
curtailed by Britain, the recently defeated colonial power.
The Second Amendment says, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to
the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear
arms, shall not be infringed."
But a background check is now required for anyone seeking to buy a gun,
to guard against selling to criminals and people who are mentally ill.
Gun control advocates say those limits are not enough and say
strengthened controls will cut the 10,000 murders committed by firearms
each year in the United States.
the violence, a Gallup poll last year found nearly half of all American
adults have a gun on their property and only one-in-four Americans favor
This has not stopped calls in the U.S. Congress for tighter gun
regulations. Representative Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon,
told the House of Representatives Monday, "The 70 killed or wounded [in
the Colorado shooting] are the latest in a pattern that happens
repeatedly, predictably, with overall loss of life being in the tens of
thousands over the years."
Gun rights are defended by the powerful lobbying group, the National
Rifle Association, which argues that the right to bear arms is "the
fundamental right that separates us from all other nations on earth.
There is no greater freedom than the ability to own a firearm to protect
yourself, your family, your community and your country."