Britain’s Archbishop of Canterbury has come out in favor of stricter gun controls in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Following the tragedy that saw 27 innocents slain at the hands of 20-year-old Adam Lanza, conversation about gun control has drawn comment from public figures on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Archbishop — Dr. Rowan Williams’ — comments were delivered on BBC Radio 4’s “Thought for the Day” program which aired on Saturday, December 22.
Criticizing the present easy access to deadly weapons in a culture where “fear is rampant,” Williams said that availability pushed people to extreme violence, The Guardian reports.
“Nearly 6,000 children and teenagers were killed by firearms in the USA in just two years,” Dr. Williams said.
While the Archbishop acknowledged that gun control was a “polarizing” issue in the States, he stated that gun control was necessary in order to prevent individuals from using them as a response to a “unsettling situation or personal conflict.”
The Anglican clegryman warned the UK too, saying Britain had “better not be complacent” about gang-related gun and knife crime. Widening the debate to include the sociological, Williams said:
“People use guns but, in a sense, guns use people too. When we have the technology for violence easily to hand, our choices are skewed and we are more vulnerable to being manipulated into violent action.”
He went on:
“Perhaps it is true that if all you have is a gun, everything looks like a target. But if all you have is the child’s openness and willingness to be loved, everything looks like a promise.”
Williams comments were delivered a day before executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, appeared on Meet the Press on Sunday.
On the program, La Pierre underlined his organization’s position that the answer to increasing gun violence in the US was a combination of arming teachers and putting armed security in schools, rather then more legislative control over gun ownership and weapons.
“What the anti-Second Amendment movement wants to do is put guns under the thumb of the federal government,” said LaPierre.
It should perhaps be remembered that there was an armed guard presence — albeit one — at Columbine High School in 1999, on the day that students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 15 people and wounded 23 more, the Huffington Post notes.