The Gun Ratio

Yesterday’s Washington Post featured an editorial about the number of children killed by guns in the U.S. Some 30,000 have died as a result of gunfire over the past ten years, making guns the second-highest cause of children’s deaths in the U.S. That’s just children. The U.S. has an annual rate of 3.96 deaths per 100,000 people from gun violence, more than eight times higher than the rate in Canada and a hundred times higher than in the United Kingdom.

As reported by the Pew Research Center, “In 2017, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 39,773 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the CDC.” The gun ownership rate in the U.S. is 120 guns per 100 people. We have more guns than people.

More statistics: Every day, more than 100 Americans are killed with guns and more than 230 are shot and wounded. Fifty-eight percent of American adults or someone they care for have experienced gun violence in their lifetime. Approximately three million American children witness gun violence every year.

Throughout the world, the ratio between the number of guns and the number of gun deaths per country is consistent—the more guns, the more killed by gun. The only way we can reduce the numbers killed by gunfire is to reduce the number of guns we have.

Many Americans argue that gun ownership and usage is part of our tradition and culture—to be an American means to own a gun. That’s why we have the Second Amendment to the Constitution. I argue that it’s time the U.S. joined the rest of the civilized world and reduced our gun ownership to the lowest level possible. I have always contended that to maintain that the Second Amendment should be interpreted to mean what gun ownership is unlimited is to misread the Amendment. But just to be sure, we should begin at once to work toward a rewrite of the amendment to assure the limitation of gun ownership, or better yet, abolish the amendment altogether.

It’s long since time that the U.S. joined the sane nations of the world in reducing gun ownership to near zero. Only by doing that can we save almost 40,000 lives a year.

2 thoughts on “The Gun Ratio”

  1. Yes, Tom, reduce the guns. Now someone tell me how? God knows many have tried, even after little children were gunned down in Newton. For some gun owners, not all, guns represent so much beyond a piece of equipment that can kill or maim. And it seems the same argument for access to guns (and assault rifles) is now being recycled for why people don’t feel the need to get vaccinated for COVID-19. I don’t understand.


  2. I don’t understand, either, Rose. As far as I can tell, Americans see guns as part of our culture. To be an American means to own a gun. I don’t know how to wake Americans up to the fact that gun ownership is invariably linked to gun deaths. Until we can change the culture, the thousands of deaths by gunfire will continue.


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