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In 1996, a local store owner in Dunblane, Scotland entered a primary school and opened fire, killing 16 children, aged 5 and 6, and their teacher, who was in her 40s. The gunman also killed himself. In the attack, he used four handguns and more than 700 cartridges, all legally purchased, based on an article The Week published on the 23rd anniversary of the massacre. The gunman was a former Scout leader who was suspected of inappropriate sexual behavior with young boys, although his exact motives remain unknown, as The Guardian notes.
Referring to Dunblane, University of Brighton criminologist and public policy expert Peter Squires said (via Smithsonian Magazine), “The notion that someone would use handguns to kill children, like shooting fish in a barrel, was just so appalling that it provoked a reaction beyond that which had been experienced with Hungerford,” referring to another U.K. mass shooting which happened roughly 10 years earlier, in 1987. On that note, soon after Dunblane, gun control debate heated up in the British Parliament.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).