March 11, 2009, London, England: Members of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) are speaking out after 25 civilians were killed, 12 hours apart, in two separate shootings in the United States and Germany.
Ten people, including members of the gunman’s family and a deputy sheriff’s wife and child, were killed during four shootings in two rural towns in Alabama around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10. Fifteen people, including 12 students and teachers at the Albertville secondary school in Winnenden, Germany, were shot dead around 9:45 a.m. today. In both cases, the gunmen also died.
IANSA, a strategic partner of The Advocacy Project (AP), is an international network of organizations united in the movement against gun violence.
Their full statement is below:
“Mortuaries in Alabama (USA) and Winnenden (Germany) are receiving the bodies of 25 innocent civilians today, simply because of the availability of firearms to two men who were unable to control their rage.
Rebecca Peters, Director of IANSA, said:
‘Here we have two tragic examples, just 12 hours apart, of how guns in the civilian population present a health risk, even in countries at peace with prosperous economies. 1000 people die every day from gunshot wounds – yet only 25% of these people lose their lives in recognised conflict. These tragedies show us that no country is immune from gun violence. 75% of all guns in the world are in civilian hands – but when will governments take preventative action to stop misuse?’
Alabama: Ten people, including members of the gunman’s family, a deputy sheriff’s wife and daughter, were killed during four shootings in two rural towns in Alabama around 4pm local time on Tuesday 10 March. The gunman later turned the semi-automatic rifle on himself. IANSA member The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said that Alabama state laws were some of the weakest in the United States, permitting the process of buying AK 47 from online without background checks and the carrying of weapons in public places, such as workplaces and college campuses.
Peter Hamm, Director of Communications at The Brady Campaign said:
‘The gun laws in Alabama are abysmal. Most people don’t realize how few laws there are on the books restricting easy access to guns. As a result, we continue to make it too easy for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons. The United States needs tougher federal laws, but action at the state level can halt gun violence and pave the way for common sense federal gun laws.’
Germany: Fifteen people, including 12 students and teachers at the Albertville secondary school in Winnenden, near Stuttgart, were shot dead around 9.45am local time on Wednesday 11 March. The gunman, a 17 year old former pupil, is also dead, but it is not clear whether he was shot by police or killed himself. A Beretta semi-automatic pistol was believed to be the weapon used in the massacre. It is illegal to buy a handgun until the age of 25 in Germany, but the shooter’s father is believed to have kept an extensive gun collection at home. The law allows firearms to be stored in private homes, rather than only in strictly controlled storage at shooting clubs, as recommended by IANSA.
IANSA member Dr Peter Lock in Hamburg said:
‘Today the town of Winnenden joins those of Freising and Erfurt, which have also lost children to mass shootings. These schools are now memorials to young lives cut short. IANSA members in Germany call on Angela Merkel to investigate the possibility of an outright ban on handguns. The German government cannot afford to simply press the snooze button on the alarm call again.'”
Posted By Karin Orr
Posted Mar 11th, 2009