Own a gun: it’s the law
By Alexandra Frean, January 06 2013, TimesOnline
While lawmakers in DC argue over gun control, one small town in Connecticut is drafting new weapons ordinances* of its own.
The town of Weston (population 10,000), situated just 20 miles from Newtown, scene of last month’s Sandy Hook school massacre, is proposing to ban assault weapons* and automatic weapons, as well as high-capacity magazines, which, it says “are not appropriate in our town for sporting purposes”. It is also planning to require safe and secure storage of weapons when they’re not being used as well as the registration of “all firearms in town.”
Failure to abide by the ordinance could result in a $500 fine.
But such local ordinances are not always enforceable, as the town of Kennesaw, Georgia, can attest. In 1982 Kennesaw passed an ordinance requiring every head of household in the town to own a gun. The measure was intended as a rebuke* to the village of Morton Grove, Illinois, which had just banned the sale and possession of handguns.
The Kennesaw ordinance is still in place, although Craig Graydon, a lieutenant with the Kennesaw Police, admits it’s not really possible to force people to buy guns. He reckons that about 50 per cent of Kennesaw households own guns today, and that many residents don’t even know the ordinance exists. “We’re a typical suburban town,” he says.
Parents rush for bullet proof backpacks*
Alexandra Frean, December 19 2012, TimesOnline
As gun sales continue to soar* following the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut last Friday, which left 20 children and seven adults dead, companies that produce children’s bullet proof backpacks say they have seen a surge* in interest.
Utah-based Amendment II, which makes “ballistic” backpacks that are built with carbon nanotube* armour* and decorated with Disney Princess and Avengers designs, says on its website that its $300 school bag “can be quickly brought to the front as a shield or can serve as a centre of mass protection while fleeing the scene of the shooting.”
“I can’t go into exact sales numbers, but basically we tripled our sales volume of backpacks that we typically do in a month—in one week,” Derek Williams, the company’s President told Mother Jones magazine.
“Basically, there’s three models. A SwissGear that’s made for teens, and we’ve got an Avengers and a Disney Princess backpack for little kids.”
Amendment II introduced the backpacks six months ago. In light of Friday’s shooting, Mr Williams said he wanted to make parents aware of his product, but in a sensitive way.
“We want to be sensitive to how we do that, but we are gonna try to get the word out that this product does exist that there are ways to at least provide our children with some protection,” he told the magazine.
A handful of other companies are also busy marketing their bullet resistant school bags as a protection against school shootings. BulletBlocker, based in Massachusetts, sells a product called My Child’s Pack, which the company says was “created in the wake of the Columbine incident of 1999.”
“The company founders,” it adds, “wanted to develop a way for school age children to have an added level of personal defence if an incident were to occur in their school or anywhere”.
Another manufacturer, Black Dragon Tactical, based in New Hampshire, advertised its bullet resistant backpack on Facebook after the Sandy Hook shooting, with a post that said: “Arm the teachers, in the meantime, bullet proof the kids.”
Arming teachers is a surprisingly popular idea in some quarters. With the President and leading lawmakers calling for gun control reform in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, half a dozen states are taking a different tack and are planning new laws that would allow teachers to carry guns into schools or require that schools equip a number of teachers in their buildings with firearms, so they can fight back should a gunman attack.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has called the idea “insane.”
* to draft ordinances - Verordnungen entwerfen
* assault weapons - Sturmgewehre
* rebuke - Zurechtweisung
* bullet proof backpacks - kugelsichere Rucksäcke
* to soar - ansteigen
* surge - Anstieg
* carbon nanotube - Kohlenstoffnanoröhrchen
* armour - Panzerung
1. What are the towns' of Weston, Newton, Kennesaw and Morton Grove attitude towards bearing arms?
2. The right of US citizens to keep and bear arms was laid down in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights in 1791. This is more than 220 years ago. In view of so many killings in the US, do you think that US citizens should reconsider their right of owning guns?
3. Are measures of school students being equipped with bullet proof backpacks and armed teachers good ideas?
4. Can you think of other reasons besides the easy access to guns why massacres or killing sprees have occurred not only in the US but also in Germany?