America Is #1 in Gun ownership & Gun Deaths - Time to Wake the Hell Up
Mass shooters and child-killers are celebrating. Meanwhile Republican politicians vow to protect us and our kids from — wait for it — librarians and history teachers
Saturday night 10 people were murdered by a mass shooter in California. It’s the 37th mass shooting this year. We’re 23 days into 2023 and over 2,200+ Americans have already died of gun violence.
We’re the only developed country in the world that unconditionally allows civilians to own military-style assault weapons, that allows “open carry,” that lets gun manufacturers openly buy politicians (thanks, SCOTUS).
As a consequence, we’re also the only country in the world where the leading cause of death for children is being blown apart by bullets.
America has just a bit more than 4 percent of the world’s population, but, with more guns than people in our country, we have more than 40 percent of all the civilian guns in the world.
Specifically, as a Swiss-based research group found, there are “approximately 857 million civilian-held firearms in the world’s 230 countries and territories” and, as ABC News points out, in America there are “over 393 million firearms in civilian possession” as of 2017.
About ten million more have been sold in the US since then: we are the only nation in the world with more guns than people.
For every 100 people in America, there are 120 guns. Among developed nations, next highest on the list is Canada, at 34 per 100 people, and all other developed countries are lower down the list than that: South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, for example, all clock in at fewer than one gun per 100 people.
This is entirely a recent phenomenon. Before the Reagan Revolution, gun ownership numbers in America resembled Canada’s.
Today, however, America not only leads the world in gun ownership but, predictably, we also lead the world in gun deaths. As an exhaustive study of gun deaths in the world’s 23 wealthiest countries published in The American Journal of Medicine found:
“US homicide rates were 7.0 times higher than in other high-income countries, driven by a gun homicide rate that was 25.2 times higher. For 15- to 24-year-olds, the gun homicide rate in the United States was 49.0 times higher. Firearm-related suicide rates were 8.0 times higher in the United States... Unintentional firearm deaths were 6.2 times higher in the United States. The overall firearm death rate in the United States from all causes was 10.0 times higher.”
Astonishingly, they added, ninety percent of all women killed by firearms in these 23 countries are in the United States, as well as 91 percent of all children killed by firearms.
Fully 82 percent of all the human beings living in the world’s wealthy countries killed by firearms lived in the USA.
Only ten percent of the wealthy world’s firearms deaths occurred in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland combined.
Other countries have gotten their gun violence under control by simply reducing the number of guns in circulation and requiring gun owners to do two of the three things we do across America for car owners: be licensed and register your weapon.
I’d add that we should include mandatory liability insurance, like we do for cars: the insurance companies would then sniff out the “high risk” gun owners and refuse to insure them, thus preventing them from easily and legally owning a gun.
Gallup found last year that 57 percent of Americans, and 85 percent of Democrats, want stricter gun laws in America.
On the other hand, Republican politicians are moving in the opposite direction, endorsing gun violence and terror: then-Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn said after the Rittenhouse verdict that Republicans should “be armed and dangerous” while Marjorie Traitor Greene said, “[G]un rights are the only thing holding back the Communist Revolution the Democrats are waging.”
Because neofascists like these in the GOP continue to try to push America toward armed civil war, opposition to gun control appears to be an issue that animates Republicans — seemingly enthusiastic about seeing Democrats and people of color die at the hands of vigilantes — far more than Democrats.
That recent Gallup poll found “a drop in support [for gun control] among Republicans, from 36% in 2019 to 22% in 2020.”
It used to be that Republicans opposed gun control because of the NRA’s money, but the NRA is now a shell of its former self. Today, it appears they’re opposing rational gun control measures because so many of them are openly promoting gun-based rightwing terrorism on America’s streets.
America is caught in a crossfire between gun manufacturers bribing politicians with the blessing of 5 corrupt Republicans on the Supreme Court, and a fascist movement fed by billionaire-owned media machines that has seized control of the GOP.
Mass shooters and child-killers are celebrating. Meanwhile Republican politicians vow to protect us and our kids from — wait for it — librarians and history teachers.
The rest of the world is looking at us, boggled. It’s way past time to wake the hell up and do something about guns. The number to call your members of Congress is 202-224-3121.
Relatives of mine celebrate 'Sunday, Gunday.' Young men, most in their mid-20's go out to their 'back 40' and shoot AR-15's (that they have souped up), semi-automatic handguns, rifles, etc. at tin cans on fence posts (really!). These boys drink alcohol (beers and shots) and shoot, goof around with loaded guns in their hands. they also hunt; nothing like shooting Bambi's head off to give you that rush. They are addicted; makes them feel empowered. Shooting a semi-automatic gun causes the same dopamine rush as drinking/drugs/sex/porn, you name it. One gal I saw interviewed (nice young woman in her 20's) stated that when she shoots her AR-15, she just 'feels better, feels safer.' Safe from what!? Shooters are created by repeated 'target practice' like Sunday Gunday, violent, first-person shooter virtual reality video gaming, often interlaced with downloads of violent porn, child pornography... you name it. What created Adam Lanza the Sandy Hook shooter? Violent video gaming, shooting addiction, child porn addict .... Adam Lanza was in a psychotic break and killed his worst enemy; those children. One thing the CDC says correctly is, gun violence is a national health emergency; mental health emergency, too.
As for the politicians? Steve Scalise takes an AR-15 round to the gut, ends up with a colostomy (temporary? not sure), almost dies and still supports 'guns everywhere' policies. What is that all about?
I got into an exchange of public emails with a neighbor who believes everyone should have all the guns they want. Mentioning the licensing/registration/insurance steps you suggested made him furious, with an angry reply that “guns aren’t cars and don’t kill people like they do.” I suppose that technically true, but…. And then I brought out the data on gun violence, particularly child deaths, using as references both federal statistics and a careful article from the British medical journal The Lancet. His reply was that I faked those sites! Meanwhile a good and very conservative friend explained to me that the reason why during World War 2 Japan didn’t invade California was because of all the civilians with guns waiting for them.
The point of all this is that you are right about pressuring Congress. When such irrational people dominate the stage, so-called “leaders” will do nothing. Guns held by irresponsible people (there are legitimate sport users) are a part of many other social issues. They relate to those who think they are “manly” and “free” by “opposing the government”. While I don’t like a lot of things Washington does either, too many in that group seem to imagine that somehow they and a few others can fight the U.S. army with their firearms and turn the country into their image of what a “great” America is. But making America a place largely free of the gun plague will involve many things, not least more access to mental health facilities and social safety nets for those on the edge of violence. Certainly the current situation is ridiculous.
When substitute teaching I occasionally have to participate in school lock down drills against an imaginary armed shooter. The best I can do is to tell the kids that my generation survived ducking under our desks to avoid atomic bombs. So something like this shouldn’t drive them crazy either. But what a pathetic picture of America this paints.