As the U.S. continues to grapple with its gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Christiane Amanpour, host of CNNi’s “Amanpour,” joins “Starting Point” Wednesday to discuss international gun policies and how changes have been made around the world to decrease gun-related murders.
“Remember in 1996 in Scotland, children the same ages as those in Sandy Hook Elementary School were massacred," Amanpour explains. "In that case, they banned the easy access to handguns. They also put in a buy back scheme. They also then backed that up with penalties and fines for any violations.”
“The fact is that it worked,” she adds.
The ABC Global Affairs anchor also notes that in Japan stricter laws than those in the U.S. have brought the gun-related murder rate down significantly.
“In order to have your basic air rifle [in Japan], you have to have a skills test, you have to have a license, you have to have a drug test, a mental evaluation, and you have to have police background check, file with the police, all sorts of fines,” Amanpour explains. In 2008, there were 11 gun-related deaths in Japan. In the same year, there were 12,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S.
Amanpour argues that the link between tighter gun laws and fewer gun-related deaths is not “brain surgery.” She adds that the United States needs to have a serious discussion about how to get “sensible laws.”
Miriam Unger, wife of Jacob Ostreicher, an American who has been jailed in Bolivia since last June, is pleading for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to help her husband.
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs to get involved here and I know that she can help my husband," Unger tells Soledad O’Brien on Starting Point today. "He needs to come home; he is ill and there will be irreversible damage if this is not escalated on a higher level.”
Ostreicher, a 53 year old flooring contractor from Brooklyn, N.Y, was arrested by Bolivian authorities under the suspicion that the money he used to invest in a rice business was drug money.
No evidence or charges have been brought against Ostreicher but under Bolivian law, people can be incarcerated for up to 18 months without charge.
At one hearing, Osteicher’s defense presented more than 1,000 translated documents that showed the source of all of his investment and proved that the money came from legitimate sources.
A judge ordered Osteicher released on bond from the Palmasola prison in Santa Cruz. However, after his family paid, the judge unexpectedly rescinded his own decision.
Jacob Ostreicher is nearing one month on a hunger strike to call attention to his case.