Fewer Students Coming to America Because They Fear Guns, Says John Kerry

The SoS said students prefer countries "where people are not running around with guns."

Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that foreign students assessing whether to study in the United States are deciding not to out of fear of gun violence.

During an interview with CNN’s Jill Dougherty in Tokyo, Kerry relayed conversations he had with diplomats about a 14 percent drop from 2010 to 2011 in Japanese students studying in the U.S.

“We had an interesting discussion about why fewer students are coming to, particularly from Japan, to study in the United States, and one of the responses I got from our officials from conversations with parents here is that they're actually scared,” Kerry told CNN, regarding an international response to the Sandy Hook shooting. “They think they're not safe in the United States and so they don't come.”

Kerry noted that Japan’s stringent gun laws, which prevent private ownership of nearly all firearms, sharply contrasts with the United States. He added the country is safer because "people are not running around with guns."

On Capitol Hill, Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) are grappling to get the 60 votes required to pass a Senate bill on background checks. Meanwhile, Congress does not seem poised to pass an assault weapons ban.

Watch John Kerry's interview: 

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.

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