But statistics on firearms in the US reported today show just what a mammoth task this is going to be – a country where the then Vice President Dick Cheney told an audience of NRA members that that America’s source of happiness sprang from the barrel of a gun.

There are nearly 300 million guns to be found in the US. One third of these are handguns, reports The Telegraph.

The rate for murder by gunfire is 100 times that of the United Kingdom and only Colombia has a worse record for gun violence than the US. Every year, 17,000 people are killed in America, 70 per cent of them with guns, and nearly 20,000 people commit suicide by shooting themselves.

When it comes to shooting of children, the numbers are even more horrifying – the number of children killed by gunfire in the United States is 25 times the rate of the 20 next largest industrial countries in the world combined.

Writing in The Telegraph today, Brian Masters, author of ‘Klilling for Company’ says:

“The terrible slaughter on Friday is not as unusual as it should be. Careful studies have demonstrated, over and over again, that homes which do not have a gun in the drawer are safer than those which do, for the mere sight of such a weapon provokes immediate action; the only thing it deters is thought.”

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