Does the US have a gun problem?

This age old debate has been the center of many campaign promises, but has anything ever been done about it? And is it in fact a problem to begin with compared to other places in the world?

Photo by Thomas Def on Unsplash

When Obama was president he pleaded with lawmakers to change America’s gun laws. Those requests fell on deaf ears as congress did not pass any meaningful gun laws during his presidency, or since then for that matter. What Obama did make clear during his many impassioned addresses to the nation is that other countries don’t have the same gun violence issues that plague the US.

During the height of the pandemic the US news media didn’t report on many other issues other than Covid but, if you thought gun violence died down during this time, you would actually be wrong. Gun fatalities increased significantly in April and May of 2020 compared to the same months in 2019 according to the Gun Violence Archive.

So what laws should be enacted? What type of firearms pose the biggest risk? Should the US ban all guns or just certain types? During my google search on this topic I came across this interesting chart from the team at criminalattorneycolumbus.com, Which Weapons Are Most Commonly Used for Homicides?

You can see from the pie chart that just over 25% of homicides in the US in 2019 involved weapons other than guns. This includes knives, poisons, hammers, fire, hands, feet and other body parts. That leaves around 75% of homicides due to firearms.

This chart goes on further to break down the percentages of weapons used in each state. Not surprisingly handguns make up the largest portion of the chart at 45.7%. Now, how is it that if I lived in North Carolina for example or Florida, or Texas I could walk right into a gun shop and walk back out with a handgun but, if I live in NY I have to take gun safety courses, submit to a thorough background check, have police come into my home, and require references who are not family to speak on my behalf to decide if I can own a handgun.

Is this why NY does not even make the list of top ten states with the highest percentages of homicides by handgun? New York does come in 5th for the state with most knife homicides behind Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Wyoming and Hawaii, respectively.

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So what should Congress be doing to help curb gun violence? Maybe they need to take a page from NY’s stricter than most gun laws as that data certainly backs that up. The country will never be free from murder however, lives can be saved with stricter gun control and that is a fact.

The 2nd amendment will always stand and forever will be an important part of every American’s constitutional rights. However, I don’t believe everyone needs access to military grade weapons and I think that some of the gun laws across different states could be more strict.

I purchased a shot gun from Walmart because I enjoy skeet shooting. This is a morbid thought but, if I were going to commit a homicide a shotgun would not be my first weapon of choice. A handgun is easy to conceal and easy to fire. Let’s not make them too easy to purchase as well. A little background check and a gun safety course is not asking for much here.