In Spain, the only people allowed to carry a gun legally are the police. From what this reporter found out, they prefer to keep it that way.
American media travels fast, but when the American studying in Spain heard about the Oregon and Arizona shootings from her Spanish host family before hearing about it from another American, she learned that news gets across the world quicker than ever expected.
This nugget of American news was the topic of discussion for the following week in the University of Malaga, Spain for International Students where this reporter is studying.
Students from all over the world were discussing the gun laws in the United States versus the gun laws in their home country. Even the professors had their opinions.
“In Spain, we cannot have guns, knives, or any other weapon. Anything that can be used as a weapon is taken away. It is strange that Americans can go to a local department store and buy a gun,” said Esther Cabrera, a professor of language at the university. “This is why there are so many shootings in the U.S.”
Spain isn’t the only country with strict gun laws. Students from Finland, Holland, and Denmark also shared their rights to bear arms.
“In Finland, the public is not allowed to use guns. They are prohibited even for self defense,” said Onika Koskinen, a resident of Helsinki, Finland, “The only time we are allowed to have a gun is for hunting purposes.”
As for Denmark and Holland, the laws are significantly more strict and elaborate.
“We can have guns if we have a license for hunting and a weapon permit. To get this license we need to take tests that gauge our knowledge about guns and ammunition,” said Dan Nielsen of Denmark. “We have to have a separate permit for each weapon and they have to be kept in a separate room of the home with two locks on the door.”
The United States is the only country in which automatic firearms, semi automatic firearms, and handguns are all allowed.
In many countries, self-defense is not a good enough reason to use or carry a gun. This is not the case in the United States.
This debate in Spain was sparked by the recent two college shootings. Students here have a wide variety of opinions when asked about gun laws in the United States.
“Guns should be prohibited in the U.S. like they are in so many other countries. There would probably be less murders that way,” Koskinen said.
“The gun laws should be more strict, I think. However, from what I know, a change like this change would probably upset the majority of Americans,” Nielsen said.
Several students living in Spain believe that the United States needs to make some serious changes when it comes to the gun laws to avoid this prevalent news they see too often about school shootings.
“In reality, yes, guns should probably be more restricted in the U.S than they are, but it is in their constitution that guns are allowed. The constitution has been around for a long time,” Cabrera said. “If changing a law that has been around for that long is as difficult in the U.S as it is in Spain, we won’t see anything different for a while.