Saturday 24 February 2018

Tragedy waiting to happen

They say it could never happen here. But then, the people in Colorado, whose children attended Columbine High School, and the residents of the quiet Scottish town of Dunblane probably thought the same. If a random massacre were to happen some day, the debate would inevitably centre on how astonishingly lax we are in regulating the sale of guns.

One out of every 18 people here legally owns a firearm, whether a shotgun, rifle, air pistol or crossbow. While guns are predominantly purchased for hunting and target shooting, rather than for security, some 200,000 people own firearms capable of taking human life.

Perhaps the closest we have come to this week's tragedy in Cumbria was the case of Brendan O'Donnell, who murdered the artist Imelda Riney, her four-year-old son Liam, and a local priest, Father Joe Walsh in 1994.

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