Not a Country of Violence, but a Country of Guns


Created by Julia Tsappis

A collage of names of people who have been lost in mass shootings and school shootings, along with numbers and dates that identify the days of shootings and lives lost due to gun violence

In order to bring a halt to the insurmountable amount of gun violence in America, the U.S needs to implement stricter gun laws. 

The purpose of these policies would not be to take away the right for a citizen to possess a firearm. They would simply be providing protective measures that include more laws and regulations to significantly decrease gun violence in the United States. 

CBS news found that in 2019 alone there were 417 mass shootings in the United States. Vox stated that since 2012 there have been over 2,500 mass shootings in America. In 2021, 194 mass shootings have already happened.

Deadly gun violence in the United States is very high compared to other countries. Vox affirms this by recognizing “American criminals just kill more people than do their counterparts in other developed countries. And guns appear to be a big part of what makes this difference.”

A study from CNN provides further evidence that gun ownership connects to violence by firearms, highlighting that “Americans own nearly half (46%) of the estimated 857m civilian-owned guns worldwide.” The correlation between high gun ownership and mass violence is evident based upon the easy access that many Americans clearly have to guns. A larger quantity of firearms leads to more usage of those firearms, and therefore more deadly shootings, homicides, and suicides. It is no wonder that the U.S has the “28th-highest rate of deaths from gun violence in the world.”

Mass shootings are consistently highlighted as preventable instances of gun violence. However, despite being clearly devastating, they are not the only example that can be identified when discussing the severity of gun violence in America. In 2019, there were over 38,000 total gun deaths. When the BBC broke down that number, they found that 14,414 were homicides, and 23,941 were suicides. Gun violence is a much broader issue than just mass shootings. 

California is the state with the strictest gun laws, and it also has the seventh-lowest rate of deaths by gun violence”

— World Population Review

People often attempt to justify these deaths by saying that people kill people, not guns. However, people wouldn’t be able to so easily kill other people, or themselves, if they didn’t have a trigger to pull. Without a weapon, people wouldn’t have such an easy opportunity to kill one another. The Regulatory Review points to a study that said in comparison to using a knife “…gun assaults had a much higher ‘case fatality rate.’”

Many of the deaths caused by guns are preventable, and by ignoring the preventive measures that could be taken the cycle of shootings, homicides, and suicides is being allowed to continue. People voice concern and sadness over the damage firearms can cause in America. However, to enact change, laws need to be put in place so that the reality of gun violence in the U.S is different than the current one.

The Center for American Progress points to an act that Congress can take, which is to implement required universal background checks at a federal level. This act would specifically ensure that background checks are always required when people buy guns. In fact, a study from Pew Research Center showed that “large majorities of both Democrats (93%) and Republicans (82%) favor background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows.”

Created by Julia Tsappis

The Center for American Progress also highlights extreme risk protection orders as a law that could be put into action to reduce gun violence. Some states already have these in place, but many are still without ERPO’s. These protection orders would allow for a gun to be taken from an individual who is perceived to be a threat to themselves or others by family or law enforcement. Information from Giffords Law Center identified that “An FBI study of mass shooters found that the average shooter displayed four to five observable and concerning behaviors before their attacks.” ERPO’s would have the ability to confiscate a gun from an individual displaying these concerning behaviors.

Finally, implementing technology that helps to protect guns from being stolen or used by someone other than the owner is an important measure that can be taken. Time noted in an article that “Entrepreneurs have introduced products that use biometrics to identify a weapon’s rightful owner while locking it for everyone else. Such smart guns may not prevent mass shootings with firearms purchased legally. But they can prevent crimes or suicides with weapons owned by somebody else.”

These proposed laws, and others not listed such as raising the legal age to purchase a gun, or prohibiting certain military-style guns from use, have the ability to decrease the high rates of gun violence in America.

The story of gun violence that the United States projects can be controlled. Advocating for the enactment of laws such as a ban on military-style weapons, universal background checks, and ERPO’s in all states can help move towards the creation of a more responsible environment of guns. To help decrease the huge impact guns currently have on American lives, it is crucial to support these proposed laws and elect representatives who are in favor of raising a positive gun culture. These critical steps needed towards achieving a brighter future of guns in the U.S will help ensure firearms are no longer a major inhibitor for violence across the country.

Many states have already moved towards progressive laws. The World Population Review found that “California is the state with the strictest gun laws, and it also has the seventh-lowest rate of deaths by gun violence.”

The laws listed above would not take away a citizen’s right to own a gun. Rather, they would increase the chances of preventing a tragedy before it can occur. By changing the current image, we can foster a nation that is proactive in its goals towards making the United States a leader in the advocation and promotion of the safe usage of firearms.