Revealing Facts About America’s Gun Control Problem

America’s gun control problem is spiraling out of control as more weapons fall into the wrong hands and innocent civilians are dying. A Time magazine article on guns in America illuminates the violent trend and examines both sides of this messy debate. According to the writers, “the gun debate stands frozen in the stalemate, advocates unable to agree even on the meaning of words.” 

For example, “commonsense gun controls” has a different meaning to each person. 

Some blame the proliferation and ease of weapons in America today on rising levels of violence. Others claim that owning a gun is akin to “female empowerment” and “personal safety.”

Growing up in the heart of Texas, my mama owned a gun. It looked more like a rifle and something that came out of a John Wayne movie. Mama learned how to shoot and kill when she joined the Pakistan Army in the late 1960s but never went to the battlefield. The ugly India-Pakistan war over Kashmir lasted 17 days and Pakistan lost.

Mama learned an important skill though she never killed anyone. And I think she was proud of her military training. 

The Gun Debate Challenge

Gun violence is a fact of life in America.

The National Institute of Justice website provides detailed information about the prevalence of gun violence in America. Consider this: In 2011, almost 500,000 persons were victims of a crime committed with a firearm. And handguns are to blame for most homicides in our country.

According to Everytown research, 96 Americans are killed with guns every day. The data is alarming. Which explains why so many Americans believe that owning a weapon is all about freedom. 

 

Also, access to a gun increases the risk of death by three times. “Most people who attempt suicide do not die–unless they own a gun,” according to Everytown. Worse, firearms are the second leading cause of death for American teenagers and children–nearly 1600 die by gun homicide every year.

Many anti-gun activists worry that acquiring guns is too easy. Many juveniles and young adults can “easily obtain guns illegally; most claim to carry them for self-defense.” But how many shootings are instances of self-defense? That statistic can be gleaned from the FBI’s homicide data. See below. 

From “The Washington Post”

This means that for every justifiable gun death, there are are 34 unjustifiable gun deaths.

Pro-gun activists, including the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre, said, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” This line of argument assumes the following: that the ‘good guy’ is not only trained on how to use a weapon but also knows how to identify the ‘bad guy.’ 

If the data reveals anything, it is that guns are rarely used in self-defense, according to a Washington Post blog by Christopher Ingraham.

On the other hand, pro-gun activists argue that studies should include how guns save lives. Gun research centers are one way to reveal the alternative side and consider how guns are life-saving tools. The trouble is that the defensive use of guns by crime victims is disputed and inconclusive. 

And “the right to self-defense does not depend on statistics or number,” according to Brian Doherty in an article on defensive use of guns.

Whatever you believe, the fact remains that gun control and the controversy around it is never-ending, and honestly, unsatisfying. So long as there is no agreement, there will be more violence committed by individuals and possibly right-wing militias with firearms, obtained legally or illegally. 

Download the fact sheet for more data.

And watch this informative TeD Talk by David Farrell re: “A solution to gun violence found in US history.”

 

 

 

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