The massacre of 26 people in a Texan church has stirred an ongoing debate over gun ownership, which is protected by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.

A gunman wearing all black armed with an assault rifle opened fire on a small-town Texas church during Sunday morning services, killing 26 people and wounding 20 more. November, 6, 2017
A gunman wearing all black armed with an assault rifle opened fire on a small-town Texas church during Sunday morning services, killing 26 people and wounding 20 more. November, 6, 2017 (AFP)

The latest gun massacre to strike the United States has reignited the nation's fraught debate over gun control, with many Democrats calling to tighten regulations and the New York Times editorial board emphasising that "this is the time" for a legislative response to recurring fatal shootings.

Authorities say Devin Patrick Kelley fired at least 450 rounds of ammunition at worshippers in Sunday's attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. The dead ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years old.

TRT World's Anelise Borges reports. 

"A mental health problem"

On a visit to South Korea, Trump said that if the "very brave" Willeford had not been armed, "instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead."

Stricter background checks, however, would have made "no difference" in averting the tragedy, he suggested.

Trump earlier said the latest shooting "isn't a guns situation" but rather a "mental health problem at the highest level."

Mass shootings in the United States have indeed been carried out by individuals who were clearly mentally ill such as Adam Lanza, who killed his mother and 20 children at a school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and James Holmes, who opened fire on moviegoers in Colorado.

But experts stress that the vast majority of people with psychological problems are not violent.

Conversely, a study conducted in Baltimore, St. Louis and Los Angeles found that only four percent of the people who committed violent acts against others could be said to have serious mental problems.

In other words, the vast majority were acting out of other factors such as anger, jealousy or hate.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies