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Friday, March 27, 1998 Published at 11:39 GMT

Special Report

The state of liberal gun laws
image: [ Even children can carry guns in some states ]
Even children can carry guns in some states

The shooting by two schoolboys at an Arkansas school begs the question: how easy is it for children to get guns?

Watch Bill Turnbull's report in Real Video
The latest school shoot-out is the fourth such incident in the last five months and there is mounting concern about school safety.

President Bill Clinton, a former Arkansas governor, launched a school safety initiative earlier this month which includes $12m in the 1999 federal budget aimed at keeping guns out of schools.

The right to "keep and bear arms" is enshrined in the second amendment of the US Constitution and is fiercely guarded by the powerful gun lobby group, the National Rifle Association.

The anti-gun lobby interprets the amendment as a collective right to bear arms, applying only to member of the armed forces.

It is left to each state to decide its own gun laws.

Gun laws in Arkansas

The gun laws in Arkansas are among the loosest in the United States.

Handguns, shotguns and rifles can be bought without a permit and owners do not have to hold a licence or register their weapons.

Although it is an offence to sell or give a gun to under-18s, this does not apply if the youngsters have the consent their of parent or guardian.

Only those who have been convicted of a felony or ruled to be mentally defective are banned outright from buying or owning a firearm.

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1998 Contents
 -  Care in the community
 -  Sri Lanka
 -  Drugs in sport
 -  Millennium Dome
 -  WEF Davos
 -  Health
 -  Diana
 -  04/98
 -  Karla Faye Tucker
 -  EU Enlargement
 -  Five Nations
 -  Asian economic crises
 -  London Referendum
 -  Water Week
 -  Romanov
 -  Pope in Cuba
 -  South Korea
 -  Chinese New Year
 -  Harley Davidson
 -  Woodward
 -  Car Crash
 -  Northern Ireland
 -  Elgar
 -  Super Bowl XXXII
 -  Kosovo
 -  Gulf War Syndrome
 -  Hooligans
 -  Bloody Sunday
 -  Food Agency
 -  Encryption
 -  Bon Appetit
 -  Eurasia 98
 -  US abortion rights
 -  liberal democrats
 -  Valentine
 -  Welfare Reform
 -  Australian Republic
 -  PNG
 -  1970s
 -  India Elections
 -  Viagra

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