School massacre reopens gun law debate

by hamilcarr 10 Replies latest social current

  • hamilcarr

    Due to its hunting tradition, Finland ranks fifth in civilian gun ownership.

    Finland school massacre brings day of mourning and review of gun laws

    Prime minister says he is 'very critical' of easy access to handguns after gunman kills 10 at vocational college

    The Finnish prime minister today said he will push for stricter gun laws as police began to identify the victims of the country's second school shooting in less than a year.

    On a visit to the college where 10 people and their killer died yesterday, Matti Vanhanen said the government would consider if "people should get access to handguns so freely".

    Police today named the gunman as Matti Juhani Saari, a trainee chef aged 22. He used a handgun and petrol bombs on his fellow pupils at a vocational college in Kauhajoki town, then fatally shot himself in the head.

    Police said the dead were eight female students, a male student and a male teacher. Another female student was wounded.

    Some of the dead were badly burned by fires Saari started, making identification difficult.

    Vanhanen said he was "very critical about the guns and during the next few months we will make a decision about it".

    Today has been declared a day of mourning in Finland. The country's main national daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, replaced its usual front-page advertisement with a large picture of a woman placing a candle at a memorial in front of the school. Above a picture of the gunman ran the headline "Why?"

    The massacre, and a similar one last year, have led to calls for a review of gun laws.

    Finland, a nation with a deep-rooted hunting tradition, ranks in the top five in the world for civilian gun ownership. There are roughly 1.6 million firearms in private hands in a population of about 5 million.

    "We must considerably tighten [gun controls]," Vanhanen said. "We should consider whether to allow these small arms for private citizens at home. They belong on firing ranges."

    The government has called for an investigation of how police handled the case. The gunman was questioned by police on Monday about YouTube videos in which he was seen firing his gun. In the videos he pointed his gun to the camera and said "You will die next" before firing.

    Police said they released him because he had not broken the law and they did not deem him a threat to others.

    The interior minister, Anne Holmlund, said: "It's clear that we have to carefully go through what should have been done and if we could have avoided this situation in some way."

    Police said Saari left two handwritten messages that he had planned the attack since 2002 and hated the human race.

    Last year, a Finnish 18-year-old killed eight pupils and himself. Both he and Saari had posted violent clips on YouTube, were fascinated by the 1999 Columbine school shootings in Colorado, attacked their own schools, and died after shooting themselves in the head.

  • leavingwt

    "When guns are outlawed, only the outlaws have guns."

    "An armed society is a polite society."

    "Register criminals, not guns."

    "Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than my gun."

    We could argue this all day. The only person on this planet responsible for protecting my wife and children from harm is me. I'm a permit holder and I go to a local shooting range to practice using this modern tool. It could potentially save my life or the life of an innocent person.

  • Fadeout

    Quick question for the Prime Minister, how many of those 10 victims were armed? I would guess "none" but I don't want to jump to conclusions.

    Good thinking, though, that someone willing to kill 10 people-- and then himself-- would be unwilling to go to the hassle of obtaining a weapon illegally. I mean, I'm sure the only reason he used "petrol bombs" was because he bought those legally at his local gun shop, which sells them for hunting, right?

  • yknot

    If someone is intent on committing a crime of that nature..... then all laws become obsolete in their mind.

    Geez why stop at guns, why not have mandatory psych test every semester.

    Or why not put everyone on a barcode scanning program where they scan in themselves and every purchase.

  • mkr32208

    Well unfortunate suicide is a big killer of teenagers and a hefty percentage of those are not just depressed but are also angry. Now you have a worldwide obsession with these shootings so you can become an instant celebrity anti-hero by offing yourself like this.

    As long as the media pants after this stuff suicidal kids are going to be competing for the highest body count.

  • leavingwt

    Excellent question, dawg.

    Regulations are fine. No 'right' is absolute. I don't believe that you or I should be allowed to construct a nuclear weapon in our basement.

    I'm fine with mandatory weapons handling courses for permit holders, as well.

    Scalia had some very practical, and I believe reasonable, things to say about the individual right, in his recent Heller opinion.

    How do you feel about this issue?

  • dawg

    Interestingly enough, as an outdoors man, a fisherman, a hunter, a owner of several weapons.... I feel the exact same way you do about it Leavingwt.

    I also recognize the framers were interested in a "well regulated" militia... good that you stand up for our rights as guaranteed by the Constitution; but are not blindly following those who tout unregulated ownership of arms..

  • hamilcarr
    This would not have happened in Israel. Those teachers are armed.

    No, they aren't.

  • hamilcarr

    Of course Burn, you could try to introduce that in your country.

    I'm happy I don't have to meet you.


  • Satanus

    Maybe, they should outlaw schools. That would stop the school shootings.


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