The number of mass shooting in the USA during 2018 has recently risen above 300. By November 9, 1135 people were killed as a result of these mass shootings ( Bonnie Berkowitz, Denise Lu & Chris Alcantara, 2018). These numbers do not even scratch the surface of the problem that is gun violence in the US.
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Every time a new shooting happens, a debate rises, gun control advocates try to raise awareness, but the conclusion is still the same: there is still no gun control law. This paper aims to emphasize on the reasons such a deadly issue continues to be more severe every year and what stalls progress being made.
The US has by far the highest number of privately owned guns in the world. Estimated in 2007, the number of civilian-owned firearms in the US was 88.8 guns per 100 people. According to CNN ( German Lopez, 2018), The US makes up less than 5% of the world’s population, but holds 31% of global mass shooters.? ( Kara Fox, 2018). There were more than 11,000 deaths as a result of murder or manslaughter involving a firearm in 2016. (2018, October 27).
As a pattern is highly noticeable, one might argue that something should have been already done to decrease these alarming statistics. So, why hasn’t the US found a permanent solution to an issue plaguing its safety? The answer is simple: gun control isn’t something everybody agrees on. Like in every debate, there are people who support gun control, and those who oppose it. The first ones are people who acknowledge it as the best solution to prevent even more deadly homicides and mass shootings from happening and the second camp are people who justify gun ownership as a right which belongs to them as part of their entitled freedom and of course the NRA(National Rifle Association of America ), which has been a major force in halting gun control laws from being enforced for years. But what makes NRA so powerful? According to the organization’s website, the NRA was established in 1871 to “promote and encourage rifle shooting” by veterans of the US civil war. Since then, this organization has been working tirelessly, advocating for pro-gun legislation. As of today, the NRS has almost full power on deciding about gun policy. International law expert, Professor Clive Williams told SBS News that the NRA “has considerable political lobbying power through its support of pro-gun congressmen and women and opposition to anyone who is pro-gun control”. Even the president, Donald Trump is a member of the NRA and received $30 million from the organization to support his presidential campaign (Nick Baker, 2018). Looking at NRS close ties with American lawmakers, it’s easy to understand its overwhelming influence. Their latest venture consists of starting NRATV, a channel completely dedicated to promoting pro-gun behavior, going so far as to even including programs that intend to depict guns as objects that can be accessorized. The whole purpose of this is to normalize guns and make the public feel that they are only used as means to insure their safety.
One of the most controversial questions this debate raises is on whether the guns kill people or do people kill people. One might argue that someone who intends to kill, will do it despite having gun control enforcing policies and furthermore having a gun for self-protection might even save one from dying. Although this argument isn’t incorrect, no one can deny the correlation between gun ownership and gun caused deaths all over the country especially these last ten years. A lot of research has been done to support this claim and the conclusion is still the same: more guns lead to more gun violence crimes. According to a study,( Dave Gilson, 2013) looking at 30 years of homicide data found that for every one percent increase in a state’s gun ownership rate, there is a nearly one percent increase in its firearm homicide rate. These stats make a strong point in favor of gun control. Furthermore, a 2016 review of 130 studies in 10 countries, published in Epidemiologic Reviews, found that new legal restrictions on owning and purchasing guns tended to be followed by a drop in gun violence ” a strong indicator that restricting access to guns can save lives (German Lopez, 2018). There are countless articles, studies, surveys etc that explore this debate and almost all of them conclude that gun control is indeed the most efficient way to at least decrease the alarming numbers of gun violence victims. Of course other variables such as mental illness, poverty etc are shown to be indicators, restricting who can have access in buying and using a gun is an issue that should be settled. Complete gun removal is impossible but at least the law should have a say on who can own one.
Even though most people in the US would support universal background checks, a federal database to track gun sales, bans on assault-style weapons, and bans on high-capacity magazines, features that would help the selection of those who seek to have a permission. The only people who can decide on a permanent solution about solving, or at least settling one of the most controversial topics to date are the Americans. Unless they all unite and demand gun control legislation from their president, congress and courthouses, this issue will continue to hunt them down, while from time to time news of a new shooting or homicide is broadcast on the US televisions.
“America’s gun culture in 10 charts” BBC. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us- canada-41488081
Bonnie Berkowitz, Denise Lu and Chris Alcantara. (2018, Nov. 9,). The terrible numbers that grow with each mass shooting. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/mass-shootings-in- america/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9a4e655a756a
Dave Gilson, (2013, Jan. 29) 10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down
Retrieved from https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/pro-gun-myths-fact- check/
German Lopez (2018, Nov. 8)America’s gun problem, explained Vox. Retrieved from https://getpocket.com/explore/item/america-s-gun-problem-explained- 1060655345
German Lopez (2018, Nov. 8,) I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery. Vox. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/policy-and- politics/2018/2/21/17028930/gun-violence-us-statistics-charts
Kara Fox,(2018,March 9). How US gun culture compares with the world in five charts
CNN. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/03/americas/us-gun-
Nick Baker, (2018, Feb. 27,) What is the NRA and why is it so powerful?
SBS NEWS. Retrieved from https://www.sbs.com.au/news/what-is-the-nra-and-why-is-it- so-powerful?
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