Uvalde school shooting: American children live in fear that their school could be next – Angus Robertson MSP

So far in 2022, there have been more mass shootings in the United States than days in the year.

A woman in tears is comforted at a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas (Picture: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman in tears is comforted at a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas (Picture: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

The prevalence of gun violence is an utter horror and one largely alien to people in Scotland and, indeed, most of Europe.

In many US states, people are able to obtain guns and ammunition with astonishing ease. That is how 18-year-old Salvador Ramos was able to walk into Robb Elementary School in Texas with two semi-automatic rifles and murder 19 children and two teachers and injure another 17. Purchasing the guns was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday.

All will remember the shooting in Dunblane in March 1996. It was one of Scotland’s darkest days. Sixteen pupils and one teacher were killed, and 15 others were injured. Immediately, a public campaign known as the Snowdrop Petition argued for the banning of handguns. Subsequently, two laws were passed restricting ownership.

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One would think this mass shooting in the USA would give a whole nation cause to take similar action to ban weapons.

Incredulously, the US National Rifle Association – the body that promotes gun ownership and funds political campaigns – held a conference days after the shooting in which it advocated fewer restrictions on gun laws and advertised gun ownership for children.

“The land of the free and the home of the brave” goes the last line of the US national anthem. Is it right that this freedom begets unbridled gun ownership?

As a consequence, the US is now the home of brave children who go to school each day with the fear that their school and their classroom could be next.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary