The right to bear arms is guaranteed and protected by the second amendment of the U.S Constitution. It is guaranteed because rightly so there are certain situations where the need for self defence may necessitate the use of deadly force and in these cases, it is profitable to have a weapon at close range. However, this guaranteed right which does not stray too far from reason has been misused to the point that it can be stated emphatically that America has a Gun Violence problem and this has become an issue of grave concern with the CDC report that at an average, at least 100 persons die from gun violence everyday.
The United States is ranked the 32nd most deadly country as it relates to gun violence, the statistics go further to state that in every 100,000 persons there are likely to be 4 deaths resulting from Gun violence. This gory statistics makes the U.S 8 times deadlier than Canada and almost one hundred times deadlier than the U.K. The statistics for 2020 was disastrous, with a total of 20,000 persons dying from Gun Violence and another set of 24,000 persons dying by suicide. Yet with such statistics, the year 2021 has pursued, and almost caught up with the statistics of deaths as a result for gun violence between the period of January and September 15th, beating the statistics for the same period of 2020 with a 9% increase in fatality rate. The total number of deaths for the period was 14,516, also for the same period, there has been an increase in mass shootings with a total of 498 mass shootings which is an increase of 15% when compared to the statistics for the same period of the previous year.
Gun violence started actively in the United States in 1999 when a teacher and some students were killed in Columbine High School. Since that time, the increase in the rate of gun violence has seen an unprecedented rise that has yielded disturbing concerns. The problem is such that it casts doubt on the ability of the United States government to handle the problems that this creates, this is because despite repeated efforts to enhance gun controls it has only resulted in a political gridlock and repeated conversations about mental health without any real progress being made.
This gun violence is such that it affects the majority of the country, eventually costing the country at least $1 billion as the cost of treating the injuries occurring from gun violence, this scourge is mostly characterized around urban neighborhood, however, it has also found its way to forming an equal stronghold in rural and suburban areas of the country. Gun violence by law enforcement officers also constitutes part of what is called Gun violence, especially when the fact that it is on record by the CDC that between the period of 2015 and 2019, there was a total of 2,606 recorded deaths.
From this pressing issue which may be termed an homicide epidemic, many questions arise such as: what is the root cause of this situation? How does the shooter relate to the victim? What are practical ways to stem this unfortunate rising tide? In order to get answers, a study is meant to be undertaken, however this study has not been undertaken due to the fact that politics and power play has resulted in blocking federal funding for firearms research with the argument that it would undercut the constitutional right of gun owners.
During the year 2020, amidst the scary covid pandemic, sales of arms and ammunitions went up by 65% from the previous year with a record purchase of 23 million arms and out of these persons, it is estimated that the number of new gun owners was about 8.4 million persons. The victims of these gun violence as statistics puts it is largely the black community as they account for about 57% of the entire victims of gun violence. IT is even stated that as of 2019, the likelihood of a black male getting killed as a result of gun violence is higher than the likelihood of their white counterpart. The impact of this rate of violence is not just physical with the death and the injuries, it is also mental, as when an individual sees a gun, the fear of being shot at becomes prevalent, which does a lot of damage to an individual’s mental state.
Essentially, gun violence is not always inflicted by a third party, sometimes, and infact a lot of the times gun violence may be suicidal, it is said that at least 60% of the time, gun violence are suicides, infact 50% of the total cases of suicide in the country happen with a gun. This issue is prevalent among white folks as it is estimated that over 100,000 white folks in the United States have died as a result of gun violence between 2015 and 2019 which is a total of 85% of the total number of suicide deaths within the same period. For emphasis sake, when comparing the rate of gun suicides among balck and white americans, it is 2.5 times higher than that of the black american.
While there is an argument supporting the fact that mass shootings are random events, an equally viable argument has surfaced which shows from evidence that these shootings are far from being random, as a matter of fact, the shootings are usually a way of expressing grievances over certain diverse issues. If observed carefully, it would be discovered that there were some telltale patterns that were missed prior to the shooting. Studies have shown that in some of the mass shootings, the shooter must have had prior cases of violence, or had probably used a gun for illegal activities in the past, and really when a person can access a firearm, they are more likely to use it on more than one occasion.
To stem the problem, it becomes increasingly important to look less at the statistics and begin to focus on the people who are being killed on a daily basis as a result of the increasing cases of gun violence. Legislators at state level should be made to understand that gun violence is not just about a perpetrator and a victim, there are also suicide situations which are equally an issue that should be given due consideration. When the understanding that gun violence bears different facets, the need for a solution to the issue would be better appreciated. Asides, the fact that laws need to be made, there is also the important task of addressing the anger, fear and pain of the citizens, as this will especially reduce the risk of persons resorting to violence as a means of expressing their grievances and dissatisfaction. Furthermore, the increasing proliferation of illegal arms must be put in check and for this to be done, tougher laws need to be made that will have a far reaching impact in reducing the cases of violence. Ending gun violence requires more than just mere and continuous rhetorics, it requires intentional and active decision making which leaves the ball in the court of the politicians.