Anglican leader backs gun control in the US

RAPHAEL SATTER
Last updated 07:45 23/12/2012

Relevant offers

Europe

Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam is 'a little jerk', says his lawyer This is how much it costs to live like Prince William, Prince Harry, and Duchess Kate for a year Brexit vote nerves turn overseas investors off UK commercial property - RICS Salah Abdeslam, key suspect in Paris attacks, handed over to France Royal household does a cover up when the Obamas come to dinner London's 'Big Ben' to fall silent for several months for repairs Dutch 'horror' dentist Jacobus Van Nierop jailed for assault, fraud in France Spring snow for the UK: Odds-on for the coldest April on record 30 years on, Ukrainians remember victims of Chernobyl disaster Susan Boyle in Heathrow Airport disturbance

The spiritual leader of the world's 80 million-strong Anglican Communion has thrown his support behind stricter gun laws in the US, saying the easy availability of powerful weapons drew vulnerable people toward violence.

On Saturday (Sunday, NZ time), Rowan Williams, who is stepping down from his role as the Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of the year, referred to the recent massacre of 26 children and staff at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Williams said it was hard to get into the spirit of Christmas given the "lives cut so brutally short and of the unimaginable loss and trauma suffered by parents".

He made the comments on BBC radio program Thought for the Day, a slot devoted to religious perspectives on life and current affairs.

Williams acknowledged gun control was a sensitive issue in the United States, but said the firepower that weapons manufacturers were putting at Americans' disposal made such massacres more likely.

"People use guns but, in a sense, guns use people too," he said.

"When we have the technology for violence easily to hand, our choices are skewed and we are more vulnerable to being manipulated into violent action."

Britain has far stricter controls on firearms and far lower levels of gun crime than the US - so much so that few British police officers carry guns and one of the country's biggest crime-prevention priorities involves keeping teenagers from carrying knives.

Authorities in England and Wales generally record between three and five dozen gun homicides a year; in the US, comparable figures range between 10,000 and 11,000.

The Episcopal Church, a member of the global Anglican Communion, has around 2 million baptised members in the US.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content