If It Happened There: If a School Shooting Happened in the UK

LONDON, ENGLAND – Hearts are heavy in the city of London as tragedy struck a local community college early this afternoon.  A gunman opened fire to the campus which resulted in the wounding of 10 students and leaving citizens in shock of how this traumatic event could have occurred.

The tragic event took place around 3 p.m., ending with the gunman being caught by local police and taken into custody, law enforcement officials say. Witnesses of the event recall their experience, stating that they were horrified and scared for their lives.

One student, in an attempt to try and stop the gunman, ran to attack the shooter and plead with him to stop.  The student was shot in the left shoulder, and is currently residing at St. Anna’s Hospital.  He is expected to make a full recovery. Local citizens are trying to gain hero recognition for this student rather than having the name of the shooter be remembered.

Gun control and ownership laws in the United Kingdom are much more strict than they are in the United States, making the process to get a license for a firearm difficult as well as a long process.  Citizens must be vetted in order to acquire a license, with the process involving research of a past criminal record, any history of alcoholism or drug abuse, mental health, their home life, their reasoning behind wanting a gun, as well as even making sure there is a secure location for the firearm to be kept at their residence.  (BBC, Casciani) Gun licenses can also be revoked more easily than they are obtained, if any issue arises.

The amendment called the Firearms Amendment Act of 1988 was introduced when United Kingdom native Michael Ryan went on a killing rampage in Hungerford, in which he would murder 16 people all while being armed with a pistol and automatic rifle.  The amendment called for registration of all shotguns, as well as the banishment of “semi-automatic and pump action weapons.” 9 years later, Thomas Hamilton engaged in a horrifying school shooting in Scotland.  Within the next year, a new law was passed that would ban the private ownership of handguns in the UK.   (CNN, McKirdy and Armstrong)

The UK government tries to eliminate the opportunity for these tragedies to occur, something that some citizens of the United States are becoming critical of about their own government. Although according to gunfacts.info, the crime rate in the UK has risen since the banning of guns was placed.

Sadly, school shootings are something that the United States has become eerily familiar with.  According to Newsweek, there have been a total of 142 school shootings in America since 2013. Below is a map of locations in the United States that have had school shootings since 2013.

shootingsince2013map

The right to bare arms is listed as a constitutional right, but some Americans are voicing their concern with gun violence occurring in the country. Even the President is getting involved in the conversation, where he spoke about the rise of gun violence at a fundraising event in San Francisco on October 10th.  He stated “We know we’ve got to do something to prevent the kind of gun massacres that we see with growing frequency in this country,” according to an article posted by The Guardian.

Although the gun laws in the UK are put in an effort to reduce the amount of gun violence, Americans remain divided with how to act on gun control.  Many do not want to give up their right to own a firearm, but many others conclude that something needs to change.

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