Control of weapons trade 'is a start' - Archbishop

Published 22 December 2012
AP
The shooting rampage at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, has sparked a heated gun control debate in the US

Greater gun control will not be enough to stop violence but it is a start, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Dr Rowan Williams was talking about the recent shooting rampage in Connecticut in his final Thought for the Day this morning on BBC Radio 4.

He rejected the argument that "it's not guns that kill, but people", suggesting that people were more likely to make violent choices if weapons were to hand.

"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."

The Archbishop said that control of the arms trade would not in itself stop the "impulse to violence and slaughter".

He said there was a need to address the fear and anxiety behind violent actions.

"If all you have is a gun, everything looks like a target," he said.

"If all you have is the child's openness and willingness to be loved, everything looks like a promise.

"Control of the weapons trade is a start. But what will really make the difference is dealing with fear and the pressure to release our anxiety and tension at the expense of others.

"A new heart, a new spirit, as the Bible says, so that peace on earth won't be an empty hope."

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