As the number of deaths from gun violence continues to grow—26, 298 so far this year according to the Gun Violence Archive—I continue to ruminate on what we can do to reduce the number killed.
Two facts stand out. First, the ratio between the number of people killed by guns and the number of guns in the hands of the citizens is consistent throughout the world—the higher the number of guns, the higher the number killed. The U.S. has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world—120.5 guns for every hundred people. We have twenty percent more guns than people. Second, we have the highest rate of gun deaths of any of the developed economies.
So the solution to our gun death rate problem is simple: reduce the number of guns in the hands of our citizens.
But recent legislation and Supreme Court moves have done nothing toward that goal. President Biden recently signed into law a bipartisan gun bill intended to prevent dangerous people from accessing firearms and increase investments in the nation’s mental health system, ending nearly three decades of gridlock in Washington over how to address gun violence in the U. S. But the law did nothing to reduce the number of guns in the hands of citizens and will, therefore, fail to reduce the numbers killed annually by gun violence.
And the Supreme Court has ruled that Americans have a broad right to arm themselves in public, striking down a New York law that placed strict limits on carrying guns outside the home and setting off a scramble in other states that have similar restrictions.
The legal right to be armed is broader than ever.
More next time.