The Gun Violence Epidemic in America

Taking a closer look at America’s gun violence issue


Mass shootings have always been a major problem in America. But how bad is it? In the past three weeks alone there have been a total of thirty-nine mass shootings. That is thirteen shootings a week, almost two a day. But why has the number of shootings increased?

In the past two days, there have been four shootings: two in California, one in Illinois, and one in North Carolina. Across these four shootings thirteen people were killed and nine were injured. Additionally, two days before in California twelve people were killed and nine were injured in one of the worst mass shootings in the past few months. One of the biggest reasons why there is so much gun violence in America is the sheer number of firearms. There are around 393 million privately owned firearms in America which is around 120 guns for every 100 people. About 45% of US adults say that they live in a household that has a firearm. 


But it does not have to be this way. America is one of the only countries where shootings are a major daily issue. The reason is that not enough regulation has been placed on firearms. For example, in Australia after suffering its worst mass shooting the government implemented a new program that banned rapid-firing guns and shotguns and unified requirements for owning firearms. Across the next 10 years gun violence in Australia dropped by 50%. So why doesn’t America improve its regulation of firearms? The main reason is because of the second amendment which gives Americans the right to bear arms. Because of this many Americans do not want to give up their right to own any weapon they want. Firearms are a large part of American culture and are not necessarily used for violence. Most weapons in America are used for hunting or self-defense. But in order to crack down on gun violence, Americans need to compromise in favor of better safety over access to firearms. This does not mean that all firearms in America need to be banned, but weapons that are designed for killing should not be in the hands of normal people. This includes most rapid-firing weapons. If these were banned it is likely that the number of these shootings would fall drastically. 

Despite the public outrage that has built up in recent years, support for stricter laws fell last year, although a majority of Americans are still in favor of regulation. A survey found that

57% of Americans said they wanted stricter gun laws, while 32% said they should remain the same

Ten percent surveyed said laws should be “made less strict”. The issue is extremely divisive, falling largely along party lines. 91% of Democrats said they were in favor of stricter gun laws while only 24% of Republicans, on the other hand, agreed with the same statement, along with 45% of Independent voters.

This is an ongoing issue that has plagued America for the past 30 years, and if it continues to go unaddressed it will only get worse. This needs to be at forefront of issues tackled by our government.