Colorado shooting heard round the world

America is flooded with guns, foreign pundits say

Kate Lieb By Kate Lieb

Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes makes his first court appearance. (Reuters/RJ Sangosti)

The lethal shooting spree during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado on Friday sent out shock waves that have reached foreign shores. Numerous international media outlets editorialized or published analyses on the incident, with many overseas pundits questioning liberal gun laws in the U.S. Here’s a sampling.

The Irish Times’ editorial staff was shocked at America’s penchant for weaponry. “Forty-five percent of homes have firearms and 30,000 die each year from gun violence,” a newspaper editorial says. “Anywhere else we would speak of this as a ‘civil war.’”

The Globe and Mail of Canada believes that lax gun laws in America allow criminals in countries with stricter gun laws to purchase ammunition. For example, they said Anders Breivik — the Norwegian gunman who killed 76 people last year — wrote in his “manifesto” that he purchased ten 30-round magazines for his shooting from an American distributor online.

The National Rifle Association and its interpretation of the Second Amendment abets these mass shootings, the newspaper paper added. “The controls would be even more effective if they were not being sabotaged by American constitutional literal-mindedness,” they write.

Malaysians fear a shooting similar to Aurora could occur during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Movie theaters have increased security accordingly, said a spokeswoman for Golden Screen Cinemas, the country’s largest movie distributor. But cinema owners aren’t overly concerned. “The culture here is different. Here, it is illegal to own a gun and such weapons are not easily available,” the spokeswoman tells The Star, an English-language paper in Malaysia.

The Colorado incident has also sparked more scrutiny of guns abroad. During a concert in Edinburgh on Sunday, Madonna brandished a prop handgun during a performance – despite warnings from police officials not to use it, The Scotsman reported.

“Given the recent events in Denver and the fact that she was in Scotland – where the Dunblane massacre occurred – better judgment should have been used,” says Shabnum Mustapha, director of Amnesty International Scotland says in an interview with the paper.

Russia’s RT, meanwhile, notes that even as America reels from the shootings, gun control is a no-go zone for most U.S. politicians.

But American leaders are simply following the people in this regard.

Support for gun control laws is waning among U.S. citizens, falling from 78 percent in 1990 to 44 percent in 2010, according to Gallup polls. Congress hasn’t passed a new gun law since 1994.