America's Gun Problem

Updated on February 22, 2018
TonyDan profile image

I am a freelance writer with a BA in Communications from the University of Toledo.

Semi-Automatic Rifle With A "Banana" Clip Bullet Magazine

Here Again Once More We Trod

The recent mass shooting that occurred at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has once again brought America to the topic of gun control. In that shooting 17 students and faculty were gunned down sending America back into the debate over gun control.

Since January of this year there have been 18 school shootings in the United States which averages out to about 2 per week. This should be alarming to everyone and the fact that these shootings are happening in a place where children should feel safe should be the most troubling aspect of the situation. Children are mandated to get an education so there is no getting around sending them to school. Although some have opted to home-school their children, the great majority continue to send theirs to public or private schools.

Schools are and have always been "soft targets" because they are gun-free zones. And that's how they should be. But this quality makes them easy targets for those who desire to perpetrate gun violence. Students should be safe in school but with the escalation of these types of shootings they have quickly become killing zones.

Assorted Semi and Automatic Weapons

Guns By The Numbers

It was last estimated that Americans own some 380 million guns. That is an astounding number considering there is approximately 330 million people living in the United States. That means there are enough guns owned in America to arm every man, woman, boy and girl living here with 50 million left to spare.

That is astonishing.

Why do Americans need so many guns? All gun owners are not sportsmen, policemen or members of the military so why so many weapons? It is understandable that home protection may be a reason to own a gun but how many does one home need? And why would someone need an semi-automatic weapon for home protection?

Many of the guns owned are military-style weapons capable of firing large volumes of bullets within a short time span. What citizen needs that type of weapon to defend themselves?

Understandably there are gun collectors among those who own guns but again how many does one person need?

America's fascination and obsession with guns has led it down an ugly path that has ended at our children's schools with devastating consequences.

The Hard Cold Facts

In a report published by BBC News is was determined that 64% of the gun crimes committed in the world including homicides, suicides and mass shootings were perpetrated in America. The next closest country (Canada, our northern neighbor) was responsible for 30% of those occurrences. Great Britain, the homeland of BBC News, came in near the bottom with 4.5% of the world's gun crimes. What is the difference? The availability of guns.

That same report stated that nearly 90 out of every 100 people in the United States owns a gun which leads the world. The third and fourth leading countries in this category, Switzerland and Finland have compulsory military service for every man over 18 years-old. So America owns more guns per every 100 citizens than countries with required military service for all men over 18 years of age.

Why so many guns?

In 2014 33,594 people were killed by guns in the U.S. That is over 2/3 of the number of soldiers killed in Vietnam (58,000) during the entire war. Of those 33,000 plus deaths 11,008 were homicides. These numbers clearly show the saturation of guns in America directly correlates with the number of gun deaths. Where will it end?

School Children Being Escorted From A Shooting Scene At Their School

The Psychology Of Gun Violence

Anyone who goes through an event where gunfire is involved experiences a measure of psychological trauma no matter if they are grown or a child. Have training in firearms or not. Its only natural. And it is especially true for those who have not been around firearms. Just the massive explosion that comes from firing a gun can be paralyzing to some. Now just imagine a child's response to such an occurrence.

Trained soldiers who's preparation involves repeatedly firing weapons can become traumatized by a gun battle. How much more so an untrained person and how much more so a child who has never been around guns?

It is a shock to the psychological system to be involved in an incident where a gun or guns were used. Robbery victims can attest to this. So children who are still in the developmental stages can suffer dramatic psychological damage from a gun incident.

PTSD is not just a condition that results from war combat. It can also be derived from situations that are just as stressful where gunfire or violence of any kind is present. Those who experience domestic violence or child abuse develop a form of PTSD and often display similar symptoms as someone who has been exposed to the ravages of war.

There can be no doubt that surviving students from the latest shooting in Florida will show some signs of PTSD in the future. How can they not? We can only hope that the psychological effect is minimal and not permanent.

The Politics Of Guns

It is a foregone conclusion that the gun industry has a vested interest in keeping gun sales high and to help ensure that outcome they go to great lengths to influence lawmakers to fashion laws that will promote just that.

Let's face facts. Gun sales is big business which is why gun lobbyists and pundits go out of their way to stay in the ear of legislators who craft laws governing guns. Having strict gun laws would greatly inhibit the sale of guns and diminish the revenue of one of the most profitable industries in the country. That in turn would affect the campaign contributions from gun manufacturers to those congressmen who receive support from them. It is a vicious game.

Since many in congress receive campaign contributions from gun manufacturers it becomes difficult for lawmakers to pass restrictive laws concerning gun sales. This leaves America in a situation where the fox is literally guarding the hen house. So what are we to do?

Virginia Tech Shooting Video (2007)

Conclusion

It is obvious that America has a serious gun problem. We lead the world in crimes involving guns. Our need and greed for guns has fueled our propensity to use them to settle issues that would be better solved nonviolently.

America's and Americans' love affair with guns has fostered an environment where it is not safe to even go to church without fear. Where does it all end?

Somehow, some way we need to find a balance between gun ownership and responsible, reasonable gun ownership because at our current rate we face what could ultimately end up being anarchy at the hands of our own citizens.

Something needs to be done and done soon. When our children are being slaughtered it is time to act.

God help us.

The Big Question

Are Americans overly obsessed with guns?

See results

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    • VCSmith profile image

      VCSmith 2 months ago from Lexington, KY

      I would like to see more details on ownership. How many people are hunters, how many have actually hunted in last 12 months, how many have even fired a gun in last 12 month, how long have they owned their gun, how many guns do they own, etc., etc., and so forth.

      I also challenge the 90% ownership number and have mostly seen much lower percentages.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 months ago from the short journey

      Related stats, such as the already mentioned suicide rate, need to be considered if we are to honestly look at this issue from every angle.

      It is also important to examine the fact that those who are saying "our generation will not tolerate these crimes" are missing the fact that it is their generation who is breaking the law and committing the school shooting crimes.

      Teaching children that they are nothing but another member of the animal kingdom and denying them the truth of who they were created to be is a crucial factor in crime among children. This truth goes hand in hand with what weak parenting allows them to be exposed to at young ages.

      Parents who get their values from the popular culture/entertainment industry, allowing Godless educators, doctors, and legislators to determine their morality, and dismissing the unpopular but foundational truth of the Gospel of Christ are doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results each time.

      Another point for consideration is about how getting over the fear of being called intolerant and administering the swiftest, severest punishment for known shooters would be a deterrent for this criminal behavior.

      Guns and bullets do not have behavior, but that is not to say that there isn't room for discussion and change in the laws regulating them. We may see some progress in that area, but the related issues are really the key.

      The heart of the matter is the condition and need of humans for the grace of God to rule through His Son. But people continue to reject Him. Though many are acting as if violence among people is new, there is nothing new here. For instance, crime is once again on the rise in the UK because even without guns, bombs and other tools are used by criminals who will find a way to commit their intent.

      I've just finished rereading C. S. Lewis', The Screwtape Letters, including his Toast and its preface. This unusual, thought provoking work includes a short but provocative discussion on the real definition of the word democracy, causing me to give more consideration to why so many people want to say that the USA is a Democracy and dismiss the fact that it was established as a Republic.

      Though reviewing the book for other reasons was my initial purpose, it caused me to again consider the need to know and understand true definitions as well as the consequences of dismissing definitions, thereby denying the truth surrounding issues. We see the same questions being asked, the same answers being given.

      Idealistic, inexperienced, students are once again presenting themselves as better than those who have gone before them while blindly copying the behaviors bound up in blaming others, pushing forward without a clue that they need to learn from history's lessons. But who can blame them? They've been denied truth in their educations.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 3 months ago from Orange County California

      Tony

      Half of the gun deaths in the US each year are suicides.

      Why isn't suicide the main issue?

      In the Cruz shootings, the police didn't do their job and once again the FBI had the necessary info but once again failed to use it. 911!

    • Alternative Prime profile image

      Alternative Prime 3 months ago from > California

      Unfortunately, since his phony-inauguration, Mr. Trump has ushered in a Horrific, HISTORICAL Up-Tick in "Murderous Mass Shootings" which have resulted in Tragic Loss of LIFE but of course he could care less~ I believe your well written article annotates the fact that we've experienced 18 since January, and many if not ALL perpetrators are NOT Foreign Terrorists, they are AMERICANs who prefer the use of an AR-15 style "Weapon of WAR" for the killing ~

      As a matter of fact, Mr. Trump's CHAOTIC, Racist and Virtually INSANE Public Demeanor has fostered a substantial Up-TICK in almost every type of VIOLENT Criminal Activity, not just "Mass Shootings" ~ But honestly, what did his "trumpeteers" expect would be the final outcome? I'm sure some of his voters have children attending school as well ~

      The BRAVE, Motivated Students who are protesting Mr. Trump, the NRA & COWARDLY Russian Republican Congress-persons understand the 2nd Amendment & the wisdom therein, and they accurately interpret the "Right to Bear ARMs" as applying ONLY to individuals affiliated with a "Well Regulated Militia" such as an army or police force, not private ownership ~

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