Image Courtesy of Vox.
The so-called “war” on guns has been in full effect, and now, under full inspection ever since the Trump administration took office. Since the whole concept is a fiasco in itself, I am here to analyze the dangers of firearms and the cautionary steps we must take as a country to reduce violence as much as possible.
It’s no secret that gun violence is a burning issue in this country. “What can we do to stop it?”, one might ask. To some, one logical theory would be redefining gun laws to be more stringent; in fact, 55% of Americans think gun laws should be more strict. If it is harder to get a gun in the first place, then homicide and suicide rates will decrease, correct? Well, this theory stands true: more gun, more homicides. A study from Pediatrics, and Harvard professor David Hemenway’s book Private Guns, Public Health shows that U.S. states with more guns experience more violence.
Mass shootings occur the most in the United States than in any other country, and also has more guns per capita than any other country. Citizens in the U.S. have, on average in 2016, 88.8 firearms per 100 people.U.S. civilians hold 42% of all civilian-owned guns in the world, despite our country making up just 4.4% of the world population. Additionally, compared to other developed countries, the U.S. has the most homicides per 100,000 citizens.
Violence through firearms has killed more people via suicide than homicides or murder in the United States. In 2013, 21,175 people committed suicide by firearm, while 11,208 people died in gun homicides. Although suicide prevention counseling and education would tremendously reduce these statistics, impulsivity may still take charge. Almost 50%, or 22,018 out of 44,193, suicides in 2015 occurred through the use of firearms. If those people did not have access to a gun, 22,018 people may still be alive today. Despite these statistics, only a small amount of gun violence is committed by the mentally ill. Paul Applebaum, M.D., and Jeffrey Swanson, Ph.D., came to the conclusion that only 3%-5% of people with mental illnesses commit “violent acts,” most of which do not even involve guns. Swanson also stated that only 20% of firearm suicides were committed by the middle-aged, mentally ill in Florida between 2002-2011.
Despite the multiple reasons why firearms are harmful to the country, the fight on whether they should be restricted, hard to access, or banned completely, is an ongoing issue the United States will have to face.