When Cho Seuin-Hui, the 24-old Virginia Tech student went on a rampage killing 32 students the old debate on gun control has emerged with renewed vigour. But the debate is more outside of the US than among Americans. Almost all world leaders who send their condolence messages spoke of the need for more stringent gun control law. The Australian Prime Minister was shooting straight from the hip when he questioned the free gun laws. Let us look at both sides of the debate. The fact that Cho was of unsound mind has now become clear. He was treated at the campus clinic for mental illness. There are a few things which stand out here. First, the gun used by Cho was legal. It was neither stolen or bought from black market. Second, so much about Cho'smental condition has come out now, to the finest detail of how one professor, after reading his plays which were full of profane, violent ideas, sought to give him counselling. The professor in one of the reports even took a security guy for the sittings. When she was suspicious of Cho turning violent during the counselling sessions she would mention a dead professor'sname, which was the signal to the security to close in and rescue her. In the US, it is a catch-22 situation for universities when they have to remove students who have mental illness, as it could lead to a string of legal suits. But to say that Virginia Tech did not take cognisance of the mental state of Cho is begging the question. It is not easy to predict the state of mind even in extreme cases. The IIT student who committed suicide in its Mumbai campus was a cheerful child. He wrote and submitted a movie review for the college magazine two hours before he hung himself. But gun control is a touchy subject in the US. The unrestricted availability of guns in the US is a popular legislation. The folklore is that his tough regulatory stand cost Al Gore votes in Florida and many other places in the neck-and-neck presidential race in 2000. Americans cheered Sen. John Kerry in Ohio state when he wore his neatly pressed camouflage hunting outfit during his campaign. But it will be interesting to note that between 1994 and 2004 the crime rate amongst children under 17 years of age has plummetted by over 65 per cent. Just as mass murder (of over five people) has also gone drastically down. Incidentally, the latest mass killing took place in the home state of the National Rifle Association which unabashedly supports lax gun laws. It is also an open secret that the gun lobby in the US sponsors so many candidates in the Congress that both the Republicans as well as the Democrats are beholden to the gun manufacturers. Last year, the Virginia General Assembly even had a Bill introduced to allow concealed weapons in campuses. The police and the university vehemently opposed it though, which resulted in its failure to get through. Americans ardently believe in the ?castle doctrine?. Which means that home-owners can shoot intruders if they suspect that they are being attacked. Sixteen states in the US have adopted this doctrine as law and eight others are considering it. So popular is the unrestricted use of weapons. As one television reported: the change in the law to restrict guns will depend on fact that people have had enough with mass killing. Well, now it does not look like.