Several times over the years, I have written in this blog about gun violence in our country. On March 23, the New York Times reported that over the weekend of March 18-20, there were at least nine mass shootings in the U.S. Total gun violence deaths in the U.S. in 2020 (the most recent year for which complete figures are available) were almost 20,000. Already this year, as of March 23, the number is already 9,553.
The Times offers a series of reasons for the spike in mass shootings, but it doesn’t mention the most important: we have the highest per capita gun ownership in the world: 120.5 guns for every 100 people. We have 20 percent more guns than people.
Gun owners are quick to point out that the right to keep and bear arms in the United States is a fundamental right protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, and by the constitutions of most U.S. states. They stress that our culture is a gun culture.
We are alone. All other western democracies and modern nations severely restrict gun ownership and, as a result, keep the number of gun deaths low. It’s long since time we overcame our addiction to deadly weapons, changed our Constitution and laws, and joined the civilized countries in the world.
All I can do is to appeal to the sensibilities of Americans: Is maintaining gun culture worth 20,000 deaths a year? My answer is no. Let’s work together to revise our laws and save lives.