Lax gun laws make American violence deadly

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


In a Vox.com article entitled, “America’s unique gun violence problem explained in 17 maps and charts,” German Lopez writes one of the best, most extensively researched articles regarding the United States’ burgeoning homicide rate.

Lopez writes that U.S. crime rates are indeed below those of other Western industrial nations. In the ‘90s, two scientists from UC Berkeley made that startling discovery. Their analysis also revealed something much more alarming — among developing nations ”we are far and away the most homicidal — in large part due to easy access many Americans have to firearms.”

In an updated paragraph that compares crime between the cities of New York and London, the scientists Zimring and Hawkins state, “A preference for crimes of personal force and the willingness and ability to use guns in robbery make similar levels of property crime 54 times as deadly in New York as in London.”

It’s not crime that makes this country an extreme statistical outlier, it’s our gun homicide rate. There are places in the developed world with higher levels of crime, fighting and arguments, but it’s much more likely that here is where an angry person will pull out a gun and kill someone. With just under 4 percent of the world’s population, we own half of the world’s civilian-owned guns. The correlation could not be clearer.

Lopez reports that there have been more than 1,600 mass shootings since Sandy Hook Elementary, according to an analysis by Gun Violence Archive, which has monitored mass shootings since 2013.

These correlations are true for states as well. States with tighter gun control laws have the least number of gun related deaths per 100,000 residents; states with less gun law have the greatest. Alaska, Louisiana, Wyoming, Mississippi, Alabama and Montana, have the greatest gun related deaths per 100,000 residents with the highest gun ownership numbers; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have the smallest numbers with the least ownership.

Loopholed gun laws and easy gun access exact an incredible cost in dollars and blood. Gun violence destroys not only families, but also society, which becomes burdened with the economics of growing incarceration without rehabilitation.

It’s untenable. The Founders never meant the Second Amendment to be an instrument of our own destruction. We need tighter gun laws limiting type and ownership.

I urge everyone to read this article.

Deborah A. Baro