This map shows what gun ownership on a per capita basis looks like around the world, based on data compiled by the Guardian. As you can see from the color codes, the United States tops the list being home to 88.8 guns per 100 people! The only country that marginally comes close is Yemen with 54.8 guns per 100 people.
The harsh reality of America today is that a mass shooting has ceased to become that surprising anymore — this year alone there have been 353 mass shootings reported. Following the San Bernardino, Calif., attack, the New York Times published its first front page editorial in nearly 100 years on Saturday. But though every major mass shooting fuels yet another debate on gun control, we’ve seen the status quo resisting any progressive attack to once and for all end this madness. Ironically, people buy even more guns after the media covers mass shootings.
“The fact is that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies — no matter how effective they are — cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual is motivated by ISIL or some other hateful ideology,” President Obama said in a speech following the San Bernardino shootings, urging Congress to tighten gun control laws. “What we can do — and must do — is make it harder for them to kill.”
The most widely used rhetoric by anti-gun control politicians and policymakers — mostly Republicans who would rather pray than actually do something about gun murders — is that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The statement is of course cretin. Let’s see a lunatic kill 50 people in one day with a hunting knife.
I’m not American, and as such I am admittedly detached from day-to-day life there. At the same time, I feel like I can be more objective about the whole issue. I understand and, to a degree, respect America’s history of gun culture, but one needs to realize when enough is enough. When you buy a gun to protect yourself, the same mechanisms that allowed you to buy the gun in the first place make it easy for a would-be criminal to attack you. If you’re a normal, 9-5 person owning a gun won’t help you protect yourself or your family. Instead, the most likely person to shoot will be your spouse, followed by your children and parents. Having a gun in the house will increase the likelihood that you will commit suicide. You will be much more likely to become the victim of an accidental wounding or death by firearm.
In America, there were 14,022 homicides in 2011, 11,101 of which were committed with firearms.
So, what can we do about it? Experts herald Australia as an excellent model for US gun control. In 1996, the country was shocked by its deadliest mass shooting in history. Then, an Australian man used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 35 people in Port Arthur. Following the killing spree, the Australian government banned automatic and semiautomatic firearms, adopted new licensing requirements, established a national firearms registry, and instituted a 28-day waiting period for gun purchases. Some 600,000 civilian-owned weapons were collected and destroyed. Everything took only a couple of months to implement. Prior to Port Arthur, Australia had experienced 18 mass shootings (more than five people killed). Since 1996, the tally so far stands at zero. Between 1995 and 2006, gun-related homicides and suicides in the country dropped by 59 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
ZME readers, what’s your take? Are you in favor or against owning guns? Explain.