Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, October 28, 1999 Published at 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK

World: Americas

Children march against guns

Parents and children marched on the Capitol

Hundreds of children and their parents have been marching in Washington to demand greater gun control in the United States.

America and the Gun
  • A civil liberties issue?
  • Recent legislation
  • What is the NRA?
  • Heston defends laws
  • The young demonstrators said they wanted to show how important the issue was to them.

    They marched to the Capitol to deliver thousands of letters from children up and down the east coast.

    The letters say access to guns is too easy and members of Congress need to "put the lives of Americans, especially children, ahead of money from the gun lobby."

    [ image: Many children grow up with handguns]
    Many children grow up with handguns
    One demonstrator, Vicky King, said: "I'm not a gun expert, but there's no reason to me to think that someone needs something that can shoot multiple bullets at a time, from the hip."

    Over the past year, there have been numerous multiple killings, including the shootings at a high school in Colorado in April that left 15 students dead.

    The BBC's Tom Carver: "Guns have already been a part of American life"
    The BBC Washington correspondent, Tom Carver says the Los Angeles and Colorado shootings affected millions of middle-class Americans because they happened in the suburbs, and not in the traditionally violent inner cities.

    So far the Republican-controlled Congress has refused to pass gun-control legislation, but many states are introducing tough laws of their own.

    Changing opinion

    BBC's Tom Carver: "This scene wouldn't have happened a year ago"
    Twenty-eight cities and counties across the US have also started legal cases against the gun manufacturers though none of them has so far come to court.

    Many newspapers, including key opinion formers, are questioning the wisdom of widespread gun ownership.

    At the same time, President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary have emerged as prominent supporters of tougher controls.

    Pioneer tradition

    [ image: Gun control has become an issue in middle-class America]
    Gun control has become an issue in middle-class America
    But Americans can still walk into household name retail stores and, subject to various state and federal laws, choose a weapon from a rack of guns and ammunition and walk away.

    For many Americans, including the three million members of the National Rifle Association, the right to bear arms is not only enshrined in the constitution, it is a key civil liberty.

    There are an estimated 200 million privately-held guns in the USA. One million weapons are in the hands of pupils, some of whom take the guns into high school.

    Advanced options | Search tips

    Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

    Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

    Relevant Stories

    16 Sep 99 | Americas
    Analysis: Recent gun legislation

    16 Sep 99 | Americas
    Firearms: A civil liberties issue?

    30 Jul 99 | Americas
    Atlanta gunman kills 12

    30 Jul 99 | Americas
    America wrestles with gun culture

    21 Apr 99 | Americas
    Teenage violence: An American malaise?

    21 Apr 99 | Americas
    When children kill

    Internet Links

    New York Times: Guns special report

    Handgun Control Inc

    National Rifle Association

    Firearms and Liberty

    Firearms deaths: Official US Govt statistics

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

    In this section

    From Business
    Microsoft trial mediator appointed

    Safety chief deplores crash speculation

    From Entertainment
    Taxman scoops a million

    Violence greets Clinton visit

    Bush outlines foreign policy

    Boy held after US school shooting

    Memorial for bonfire dead

    Senate passes US budget

    New constitution for Venezuela

    North Korea expels US 'spy'

    Hurricane Lenny abates

    UN welcomes US paying dues

    Chavez praises 'advanced' constitution

    In pictures: Castro strikes out Chavez

    WTO: arbitration in EU-Ecuador banana dispute

    Colombian army chief says rebels defeated

    Colombian president lambasts rebels