A day after the deadliest mass shooting in American history at an Orlando LGBT nightclub, Pope Francis condemned the easy availability of guns across the world as a United Nations speech on Monday (13 June).
He didn't single out America, blasting the "brazen" freedom with which weapons circulate in the world — especially when compared to the hurdles that face charities and organisations distributing aid to third world countries.
"It's a 'strange paradox" that aid and food are obstructed by barriers including political decisions and skewed ideology but "weaponry is not," he said in a speech that addressed the United Nations, NBC reported.
"It makes no difference where arms come from — they circulate with brazen and virtually absolute freedom in many parts of the world," he added.
The criticism followed an earlier statement from the Vatican expressing "deepest feelings of horror and condemnation" over the Orlando attack on Sunday (12 June).
"We all hope that ways may be found, as soon as possible, to effectively identify and contrast the causes of such terrible and absurd violence which so deeply upsets the desire for peace of the American people and of the whole of humanity," the statement added.
The deadly Orlando shooting is bound to raise another political debate on banning AR-15 assault rifles, the weapon that appears to have become the weapon of choice for mass shooters in the US. But previous debates following deadly attacks have not resulted in a crackdown on the weapons.
One of every three people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando was killed or injured in large part because of Omar Mateen's AR-15, capable of rapidly firing multiple high-velocity rounds. ISIS leaders have urged sympathisers to use the easy availability of the guns to wage war within America.
Donald Trump said that he would not ban assault rifles because there are already "millions" of guns out there and people "need protection." He again blamed the violence on immigrants, though the shooter was born in America, noted the Wall Street Journal.
Hillary Clinton also said tougher gun control laws are needed to keep "weapons of war" out of criminal hands.