Entries in Guns (5)


Three Dead, Seven Injured in Swiss Factory Shooting

Comstock/Thinkstock(MENZNAU, Switzerland) -- A shooting at the Kronospan wood processing factory in the Swiss town of Menznau on Wednesday left three people dead, including the 42-year old gunman, and another seven injured. Five of the injured are in serious condition.

The shooting occurred during the morning while factory workers were snacking in the plant’s cafeteria. The shooter, described by the chief executive of Kronospan Mauro Capozzo, was an unassuming and quiet man.

Capozzo denied rumors that job cut announcements were imminent, leaving the motivations for the massacre unclear at this point.

Gun violence and mass shootings of this sort arerare in Switzerland, despite the country boasting the third highest rate of gun ownership in the world. However, the rate of domestic homicides and suicides involving firearms is the second highest in Europe.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Strict Gun Control Laws in South Korea

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- When news of frequent shooting incidents comes out of the United States, Koreans let out a small sigh of relief for living in a place where gun ownership is strictly illegal.

Military service for Korean men is mandatory, but that is probably the only time a regular civilian will have a chance to hold a gun.

In South Korea, only government-authorized personnel could own or carry guns.  After taking a physical exam, permits are handed out to a very limited number of people: Body guards of the president or foreign heads of states; firearm workers at industrial mining or construction sites; certified hunters or Olympic athlete shooters.

When a citizen is caught selling or buying guns -- produced in Korea for export purpose only -- the penalty is up to 10 years in prison or up to $18,000 in fines.  Even possessing a toy gun that resembles a real gun is strictly prohibited.

In the past five years, a total of 50 cases of gun-related crimes leading to death or injury were reported.  Many were accidents, not intentional murder attempts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Parents of Slain Japanese Student Push for Gun Control from Afar

Courtesy of Masaichi Hattori(TOKYO) -- Mieko Hattori continues to fight for her son, 20 years later.

In 1992, her teenage son Yoshihiro, an exchange student, was gunned down in Baton Rouge, La., after he accidentally approached the wrong house, dressed in costume, on his way to a Halloween party.  Homeowner Rodney Peairs, who said he felt threatened, demanded the 16-year-old “freeze,” but the warning was lost in translation.

When Yoshihiro failed to stop, Peairs shot him with a .44-caliber Magnum revolver.

“I’m embarrassed to say, I knew nothing about [the gun culture] in the U.S.,” Hattori said.  “I thought, there’s a lot of shootings in big cities -- but my son wasn’t going to a big city.  I thought this wouldn’t affect him.”

Yoshihiro’s case triggered outrage in Japan, where handguns are strictly banned.  The case went to the Louisiana State court, where a 12-member jury acquitted Peairs of manslaughter, saying he acted in self-defense.

The heartbreak led Yoshihiro’s parents to lobby for a change in U.S. gun laws. They collected nearly two million Japanese signatures calling for tighter gun control, and personally handed them over to then President Bill Clinton.  They donated compensation from their civil trial to anti-gun groups, and continue to support their efforts from afar.

Yet, on a recent trip back to Baton Rouge, Hattori said she was shocked to learn more than two dozen states had enacted “Stand your ground” laws that expand a person’s right to self-defense.

The Connecticut shooting was a reminder of how little progress had been made.

“It was so heartbreaking to see so many young children killed, but I can’t say I was shocked,” she said.

“Guns only exist to kill people,” said Masaichi Hattori, Yoshihiro’s father.

The U.S. and Japan sit on opposite ends of the spectrum on the gun debate.

While the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, Japanese law bans private ownership of handguns for ordinary citizens.  People can legally carry a hunting rifle, but the process to get a permit requires rigorous checks: an application that lists a person’s work and address history, family registry, a mental health checkup at a hospital, a background check on criminal history, a skills test every two years, and a training course for those using the rifle for sport.  Some public safety commissions go as far as questioning an applicant’s neighbors and co-workers, gun enthusiasts said.

Yoshiki Kobayashi, professor of policy management at Keio University, says Japan’s resistance to guns stems from the 16th century, when feudal lord Hideyoshi Toyotomi restricted the use of arms to the samurai class, though the current law was passed in 1958.

Japan remains home to one of the strictest gun laws and lowest gun-related crimes in the world.  Eight people died from gun-related injuries last year, down from 11 the previous year, according to the National Police Agency.  A quarter of the cases were tied to organized crime.  (By comparison, from 2007 to 2009, the U.S. averaged 10,987 homicides per year by firearm, according to the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime.)

In 1994, the Hattoris established a foundation in their son’s name, to invite American high school students to study in Japan, and experience a virtually gun-free society.  The students -- 20 so far -- have engaged in discussions with Japanese classmates about the pros and cons of firearms.

“I know Japan can’t be a model for the U.S. right now,” Mieko Hattori said.  “But we can at least strive to eliminate guns.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


At Least 50 Killed After Bomb and Gun Attacks in Nigeria

ABC News Radio(DAMATURU, Nigeria) -- At least 50 people were killed in a series of bomb and gun attacks in the Nigerian town of Damaturu on Friday.

Red Cross officials report that many people fled their homes following the attacks in Yobe state on military buildings, churches and police headquarters. The attacks began at 6:30 p.m. and continued throughout the night with gun battles between the attackers and security forces.

According to BBC News, the attack is believed to have been carried out by the Islamist Boko Haram group which has carried out similar attacks in the past including a recent suicide bomb attack at a military headquarters as well as bombings on buildings in the city of Maiduguri in nearby Borno state.

State officials say they are still trying to determine the amount of casualties.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Al Qaeda Video: American Muslims Should Buy Guns and Kill

FBI via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a new video message released on the Internet Friday, American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn calls on Muslims living in America to carry out deadly one-man terrorist acts using fully automatic weapons purchased at gun shows, and to target major institutions and public figures.

"What are you waiting for?" asks Gadahn in English, and then adds that jihadis shouldn't worry about getting caught, since so many have been released. "Over these past few years, I've seen the release of many, many Mujahideen whom I had never even dreamed would regain their freedom."

The two-part, two hour video appeared on jihadi websites Friday with images of jihadi leaders as well as snapshots of alleged underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan. Both Hasan and Abdulmutallab are charged with carrying out attacks inside the U.S. Called "Do Not Rely on Others, Take the Task Upon Yourself" and produced by al Qaeda's media arm, al Sahab, the tape mixes Gadahn's new message with clips from old videos of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and other al Qaeda leaders praising one-man attacks. They call on jihadis in the West to carry out lone wolf operations.

Gadahn sounds the same theme in his message, a series of soundbites interspersed throughout the video and accompanied by images of U.S. airliners, bombmaking and the logos of U.S. companies. "Muslims in the West have to remember that they are perfectly placed to play an important and decisive part in the Jihad against the Zionists and crusaders, and to do major damage to the enemies of Islam, waging war on their religion, sacred places, and things, and brethren," says Gadahn. "This is a golden opportunity and a blessing."

He urges Muslims to pursue attacks with whatever is available. "Let's take America as an example. America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?"

Gadahn suggests targeting major institutions -- after a clip showing the logos of such firms as Exxon, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America -- and "influential public figures." "Getting to these criminals isn't as hard as you might think," says Gadahn. "I mean we've seen how a woman knocked the Pope to the floor during Christmas mass, and how Italian leader Berlusconi's face was smashed during a public appearance. So it's just a matter of entrusting the matter to Allah and choosing the right place, the right time, and the right method."

He claims that many Western born or raised jihadis, the "brothers who came from abroad" are now thinking about returning to their "Crusader" countries to "discharge their duty of jihad." He also says not to worry about imprisonment, since so many have been jihadis have been set free. "If it's Allah's will that you be captured, then it's not the end the world, and it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to spend the rest of your life in prison." Many mujahideen who were locked up "are now back home with their families, or back on the frontlines, fighting the enemies."

Gadahn, a 32-year-old California native, was born Adam Pearlman, the grandson of a Jewish urologist. His parents changed their name to Gadahn after becoming fundamentalist Christians. After converting to Islam, Gadahn moved to Pakistan in 1998 and then became a senior commander in al Qaeda. Gadahn has appeared in numerous al Qaeda videos over the past seven years. In 2005, after terror attacks in Madrid and London, he said, "Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, God willing." He is currently considered al Qaeda's leading media strategist, and has been on the FBI's Most Wanted list for nearly 10 years. He has been reported dead or captured several times, only to reemerge alive.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio