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Readers Debate Gun Control Laws After School Shooting

In the wake of a school shooting in southern Germany, which left 16 people dead including the young gunmen, readers express their condolences and weigh in on the effectiveness of gun control laws.

Students at the Albertville school in Winnenden, Baden-Wuerttemberg

The massacre has stunned the residents of Winnenden

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

First, let me extend my deepest sympathy to all the families of those killed. I thought Germany already had very strict gun laws, stricter than the US. Why did this young man's father have a gun in the first place? All countries need stricter gun laws. But, will this really stop tragedies like this from happening. Unfortunately, man-made laws do not change a persons heart and therefore, cannot stop this completely from happening. -- Elizabeth Hughes, US

In reference to such incidents as recent school shootings in Germany this question itself completely misses the mark. It wrongly implies that (legal) weapon sales are to be questioned as a "cause" of this behavior. Germany presently has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world with respect to sales and ownership, yet such incidents still occur. Ironically, this may, at least partially, be a legitimate cause. We also see in the US these shootings most often happening in so-called "gun free zones." Strict gun control is a double-edged sword. The only gun use it ever succeeds in reducing is legal legitimate non-threatening gun use by the law abiding while simultaneously raising the black market for illegal guns and also raising the status of these illegal guns in the eyes of the embittered and disenfranchised who sometimes lash out in an environment where they know their tirade will have maximum effect, in a totally unarmed group of people. -- Gerald Morris, Canada

Ambulances at a high school in Winnenden, souther Germany, following a shooting

The total death toll rose to 16

It seems to me this mass murder was a "copy cat" of the American high schools that have had similar catastrophes. In the American killing they found out the use of marijuana in the killers was an important issue, and possible cause. There are now many new articles associating the use of marijuana (and hashish) to becoming psychotic. Many new publications have been appearing. It would be interesting to have data on the autopsy of this killer and find out if there are marijuana chemicals in his brain (they stay for several months ). -- Jose Carranza, US

There is shocking news coming from Germany today. I hope that it will push German regulators towards more strict rules concerning possession of weapons for private use. -- Wojtek, Poland

I hope that gun laws in Germany are not as bad as in Finland and the United States of America. The last major shooting incident in Australia that occurred in Tasmania back in 1996 made the Australian federal government tighten gun laws -- surprisingly by former Prime Minister John Howard. I believe this fellow in Germany (the gunman in question) committed suicide after what he had done. He must have had a guilt complex. My advice is to tighten gun law like what happened in Australia last time in 1996. -- Stuart John Pearson, Australia

Your entire article on the school shootings does not include one reference about the parents, except that the gun may have come from the father's collection. You state what everyone else thinks society should do. Have you totally absolved the parents from responsibility? Perhaps his problem was at home not at the school. Give a little more balance to your reporting. -- Barbara Dreher, US

Just check the baggage of all German students! -- Kathe Herberg, Brazil

I was shocked to read of the terrible news of the Albertville School shooting in Winnenden, Germany. Please accept my deepest condolences to all the families affected by this horrendous tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go with you in your time of need. May the Lord bring you some much needed comfort. Please take care and God bless you all! -- Carol Ann Stewart, Canada

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