Gun Violence in America
April 1, 2013
With our country owning over 310 million guns, killing more than 31,000 people a year; the attitude of our culture and society that violence solves problems and the glorification of this attitude needs to change or gun deaths will only increase. Simply banning certain types of guns while seemingly prudent and justifiable is not enough or is it. How we think and act is more important in this issue than just taking guns away. If our attitudes do not change people will still find a way to commit violent acts whether with a gun or some other weapon.
Every year in this country over 100,000 people are shot, that averages out to about 289 people a day. Eighty-six people a day die as a result of guns, with 30 of them murdered, 53 killing themselves, 2 accidental deaths and one death as a result of police intervention. Over a ten year span, from 2000 to 2010 335,609 people died from guns. To put that into perspective that is more than the population of St. Louis, MO. (318,069), Pittsburgh, PA. (307,484) and Orlando, Fla. (243,195) (nbcnews.com, 2013). If that is not bad enough in 2010 over 82 children under the age of five were killed by firearms which is more than the 58 police officers killed in the line of duty during the same year. More children (15,576) were injured by firearms in that same year than the total number of U.S. servicemen (5,247) wounded in the Afghanistan war the same year (nbcnews.com, 2013). These are staggering numbers and it would seem to any reasonable person that this country has a serious problem with gun violence. Gun violence also affects more than just the individual victims. In some areas where it is prevalent, even just the threat of gun violence can devalue the whole neighborhood. While you can’t realistically put a price on the total harm of gun violence, researchers have used a method called “contingent valuation”. This is where they asked many people how much they would pay to avoid gun violence. It has been estimated that the cost to American society is around $100 billion dollars (Stray, 2013). This coupled with the fact that there were 8,583 homicides involving firearms in 2011, which is more than two thirds of all homicides committed (12,664) means that gun violence in America has become endemic. The ownership of so many guns in this country makes it as simple as ready, aim, and fire. It has lowered society’s threshold between anger and killing and this proliferation in society leaves everyone vulnerable. Our communities have become unsafe, police on patrol now wear bulletproof vests for their protection. This was unheard of even 30 years ago, now it is standard practice. Gun violence now touches every aspect of our lives it’s on the streets, in homes, at work, and even in our schools like never before (Lendman, 2012). All of this has many in our country now pushing for stricter gun laws and outright bans on firearms, sparking a huge debate centered on gun control in this country. Those for stricter gun control measures could cite the above information and statistics as plenty enough reason to enact new gun control policies. This along with the fact that current gun control laws on the books (National Firearms Act of 1934- which restricts the ownership of assault weapons, grenades and short-barreled shotguns by civilians and the Gun Control Act of 1968- which focuses on commerce by prohibiting mail order weapon sales, and also requires businesses to be licensed by the federal government) (Stray, 2013) have done little to stem the recent tide of gun violence. Would make the enactment of stricter gun control laws prudent and sane. However not everyone agrees with the idea of stricter measures on gun control.
Besides the obvious outcry that...