Gun Violence

According to the June 9 Washington Post, the U.S. has suffered more than 250 mass shootings thus far this year. And Congress is struggling to pass laws to address our massive gun killings. I’m pleased to see our lawmakers moving out, even though I know that gun-loving Republicans will scuttle all meaningful reductions in gun ownership. And I know that the only solution to our firearms problem is to reduce the number of guns in the hands of our citizens, something we are not willing to do.

The U.S. has more guns per capita—120.5 guns for every 100 people—than any other country in the world, and only Brazil exceeds us in the number of people killed by guns annually. The ratio between gun deaths and gun ownership is the same throughout the world: the more guns, the more deaths. Two examples chosen at random illustrate the point: The U.K. has 2.5 guns per hundred people; it had 107 people killed by guns in 2016. Belgium has 6.56 guns per hundred inhabitants; number of Belgians killed annually by firearms per 100,000 people: 1.24. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020, the most recent year for which complete data are available, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S.

I reject out of hand the argument made by many Republicans that we Americans are a gun culture. To the degree that that’s true, let’s change it instantly. Our culture, as of June 9, has killed 19,066 people so far this year. Better to reject our culture outright and reduce the number of guns in the hands of our citizens than to accept multiple thousands of deaths every year—including small school children in place like Uvalde, Texas.

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