A 7th grader opened fire on his fellow classmates Wednesday morning in Belgrade, Serbia.
The shooting resulted in the death of eight children and a security guard, seriously injuring several others in the process at Vladislav Ribnikar primary school. The 13-year-old responsible for the attack had apparently been planning it for several weeks and even went as far as preparing a kill list. The shooting was carried out with two of his father’s guns that he stole and four Molotov cocktails.
The shooters’ parents have also been arrested.
President Aleksandar Vucic held a televised press conference addressing the country, calling the attack “the most difficult day in the modern history of our country”.
The Serbian president then went on to explain how the suspect cannot be held criminally responsible for the crime because he is under 14 and will be sent to a psychiatric facility for treatment instead. Vucic suggested potentially changing the current Serbian laws and lowering the age of criminal liability to 12.
Serbia currently has the fifth-highest rate of gun ownership in the world, with 39.1 firearms per civilian. The western Balkan region was flooded with gun ownership after the two different wars involving Serbia with Bosnia and Kosovo. As a result of illegal gun ownership following the wars, strict gun laws were created.
In the press conference, Vucic proposed further gun reform including auditing firearm licenses and changing the rules regarding who is allowed inside shooting ranges.
Despite the high gun ownership rates, the strict gun laws make mass shootings in Serbia far and few between. The last mass shooting took place almost a decade ago in 2013.
A national three-day mourning period will commence on Friday, May 5, to honor the victims and their families.
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