Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Lax Gun Laws Make More Massacres like Orlando Inevitable

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Lax Gun Laws Make More Massacres like Orlando Inevitable

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Lax gun laws make more massacres like Orlando inevitable

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published June 13:

The number of victims, alone, is shocking. More than 100 people shot -- with 49 killed - by a single homicidal bigot. It's the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, but the horror of what happened in Orlando early Sunday morning goes beyond stark numbers.

It wasn't a random attack. In targeting a crowded gay bar, 29-year-old Omar Mateen deliberately took aim at members of a vulnerable community that so often has been the object of senseless hate. Mateen killed his victims for the perceived offence of simply existing.

He did so in the name of a merciless movement that has pillaged its way through the Middle East. And he used an assault-style rifle -- a type of gun painfully familiar for its role in other mass killings, including the butchering of 20 children and six school staff in Newtown, Conn., four years ago.

Many hoped that the "slaughter of innocents" at Sandy Hook Elementary School would finally rouse American political leaders to take serious steps on gun control. President Barack Obama had declared curbing gun violence a top priority and he pressed hard for stricter firearms laws. Unfortunately, almost every Republican in the U.S. Senate, plus a smattering of Democrats, blocked reforms.

They even shot holes in a modest proposal to expand background checks on people wanting to buy firearms. Orlando is the natural result of maintaining ridiculously lax gun laws in the face of tragedy upon tragedy.

Obama warned of the consequences of such folly just days before the Orlando attack, telling a PBS townhall that he had recently been briefed on the danger posed by radicalized U.S. citizens.

"We're allowed to put them on the no-fly list when it comes to airlines . . . but I cannot prohibit those people from buying a gun," he said. …

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