Mass shootings have become commonplace in the U.S., most recently at Planned Parenthood and in San Bernardino. In 2015, 353 mass shootings had occurred by the time of the San Bernardino tragedy, more shootings than there had been days in the year, according to Mass Shooting Tracker. Gun violence in 2015 left 13,341 Americans killed and 26,922 wounded, according to Gun Violence Archive. Gun deaths come in many different forms– domestic violence, gang violence, drug wars, self-defense, and public shootings, but they all contribute to the same problem– too many people are being shot in America due to guns being too available to anyone who wants to own them.
Comparing gun-related deaths in the U.S. with those of other countries helps us see just how big this problem really is. As the table at right shows, U.S. deaths from guns are sometimes as much as 50 times greater than other countries. U.S. gun deaths are almost than twice that of Somalia, known for danger and lawlessness.
The U.S. has the highest guns-per-capita in the world, with .888 guns per person as of 2007 (the figure is even higher now). France had 0.343, Germany had 0.303, China had 0.049, Japan had 0.06, and the UK had 0.062, according to The Washington Post.
Regarding another gun related problems– accidental gun deaths– the U.S. again is far worse than its developed counterparts. During 2013, the U.S. had 0.22 accidental gun deaths per 100,000 people, while France had 0.069, Japan had 0.035, China had 0.032, Germany had 0.022, and the U.K. had 0.02, according to the World Health Center.
These numbers make it painfully evident that the U.S. is in fact having a gun problem.
And the solution is: gun control in the form of a ban on automatic weapons.
What do the five developed countries I’ve previously mentioned all have in common? They have much stricter gun control than we do. In Japan, all guns other than shotguns and air rifles are totally illegal, and to even have those one must go through various government and police inspections first to obtain the gun, and routinely after to keep it. In France and Britain, gun control is so tight even the police are mostly unarmed. Of the 32 high-income countries (as designated by The World Bank), most tended to have more strict gun control than the U.S., all had lower firearm-death rates and, in all but one, lower murder rates to show for it.
We do not need to get rid of all guns– that notion is a conservative fantasy of a liberal agenda– only automatic guns. AK47’s, FN SCAR’s, HK416’s, ACR’s and the like have no other purpose than to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. They are weapons solely of war and mass murder. There is no legitimate reason why a regular citizen needs an automatic weapon. For people who hunt, shoot for sport, or want to protect themselves, handguns, shotguns, and rifles should suffice.
Moreover, the idea that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is preposterous, especially when applied to automatic weapons. Automatic weapons have no other purpose than to kill people. It’s what they’re made for. Automatic weapons are as much of a threat to society as the people who wield them.
Now I can hear the ammosexuals (this is a term for people who love guns) screaming “Second Amendment! Second Amendment!” But the amendment clearly states “a well-regulated militia”. The American public is anything but a well-regulated militia.
In addition, we must keep in mind what type of weapons were available at the time of the Constitution’s writing. The best weapons during the Revolutionary War period were massive rifles that held one shot and took 30 seconds to reload, and the only pistols were very inaccurate. Pulling off a mass shooting was simply not possible. While our founding fathers certainly had foresight, they were not clairvoyant. They did not envision weapons that could fire over 600 rounds per minute.
We, as a nation, can do better. Rather than arming the public as though America is a war zone, we should restrict a weapon that has no place in a civilized society and that has killed thousands of innocent people and children.