It's an all too familiar sequence of events here in the US. 

There is a devastating mass shooting, politicians express "thoughts and prayers", there are calls for tougher gun laws, but nothing changes.

Unfortunately, I fear we will see the same pattern playing out again following this weekend’s mass shootings.

Those calling for greater gun control will demand action, but those on the other side will say it is a mental health issue rather than being about access to weapons.

In recent months, I have visited gun shows and firing ranges in different parts of the US to speak to gun enthusiasts.

Most of the people I meet at these locations do not believe America needs tougher gun laws, pointing to the second amendment of the US constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms.

Following a mass shooting in New Zealand in March, the government there moved quickly to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles.

Shortly after the New Zealand attack, I went to a gun show in Maryland to ask attendees if they thought a similar firearms ban would ever be introduced in America.

"I would hope not," one man told me. "I'm sure that the liberals will want to ban certain guns but it's not the gun that kills people, it's people that kill people."

Another man used the same words and added: "It's the same as blaming a pencil for misspelling a word."

Some of those we spoke to were in favour of tougher gun laws.


One man told me that as a hunter, he was an avid believer in gun ownership, but added: "I don't believe someone in the United States should have a fully automatic weapon."

There have been some changes to American gun laws in recent times. A ban on "bump stocks" was announced in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017.

These are devices that allow rifles to fire like machine guns.

On 14 February 2018, 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

A massive anti-gun violence campaign followed with student activists launching the 'March for Our Lives' series of rallies.

It did result in some changes, with age limits being raised and background checks being tightened.

It also resulted in the passage of a bill in Florida allowing teachers to carry guns in classrooms.

I recently visited Parkland, Florida and spoke to an Irish family, the Creans, whose daughter Anna, survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

They didn't think giving guns to teachers was a good idea.

"There are so many things that could go wrong with that law," Anna said.

"If a police officer can’t handle a gun in a school, how can you expect a teacher to? Teachers are supposed to teach us, not be our security guards."

Anti-gun campaigners say the way to prevent future mass shootings is more gun laws not more guns.

But most don't expect politicians to act quickly, except for when it comes to offering "thoughts and prayers".