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Sunday, 26 April, 1998, 22:53 GMT 23:53 UK
Four-year-old shoots playmate
house
It should have been a birthday celebration for six-year-old Carlos Gilmer
A four-year-old boy in the American state of North Carolina has shot dead a six-year-old friend with a gun he found in a handbag.

It is the second time in two days that a child has killed with a pistol - once again raising questions about the huge number of guns in private hands in the United States.

Six-year-old Carlos Gilmer was celebrating his birthday at his grandmother's home in Greensboro, playing with a four-year-old friend, when the two boys found a loaded semi-automatic pistol in a handbag.

When the four-year-old pulled the trigger, Carlos was shot in the neck and killed.

On average, 100 people die of gunshot wounds in America every day.

Andrew Wurst
Andrew Wurst: charged
A 14-year-old boy has been charged with killing a teacher and wounding two pupils after a shooting at a school graduation dance in Pennsylvania on Friday.

Andrew Worst, known as a loner with a troubled family background, had reportedly bragged that he would make the school dance memorable.

Last month, America was horrified by the schoolyard shootings in Jonosboro, Arkansas, when two boys, aged 11 and 13, were accused of opening fire on a playground killing four children and a teacher.

Since then, President Bill Clinton has moved to ban the import of more than 50 kinds of rifles and machine-guns but no formal steps have been taken to stop children getting hold of guns.

The BBC's Washington correspondent Bill Turnbull says the tragedies this weekend will raise the debate about gun violence once again in America but only in terms of motive.

"The question asked here is only what drives young people to commit such acts. That they should have the means to do so is taken for granted."

See also:

26 Mar 98 | Americas
Boys charged over school massacre
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