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Sunday, August 19, 2018

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Gun obsession is an issue of a nation, not just a male one


Obsession over guns runs deeper than just the male sex. It’s a problem for all of America. | Dana C. Jones/ The Cougar

The pandemic of guns in the United States is the problem of a nation, not a particular sex.

There have been endless discussions on internet forums about obsession with guns, an issue that brings in people domestically and from across the pond. Many argue that just men are gun-crazed rather than the United States as a whole.

Men may be represented as using guns the most often, but that is on a micro level. When we talk about mass shootings, gun ownership per capita and lack of legislation following mass shootings, we are discussing a country-wide problem, not one of gender.

The Second Amendment, which grants citizens the right to bear arms, gets renewed attention and focus every few months because U.S. murder rate is so high. In 2017 alone, there have been 11,000 gun-related homicides.  

Every few years, at least one domestic mass killing garners national attention, and many more go unnoticed. To wit: the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, 2012’s Sandy Hook and Aurora massacres or the 2016 Orlando night club shooting.

In 2016, there were 477 mass killings in the United States. In this case, a mass shooting is defined as an incident involving four or more injuries or deaths. That is more than four people getting murdered or hurt by guns every single day. As of press time, there have been 319 mass killings in 2017.

When America stacks up against the rest of the world, we rank at the top for guns.

On a list of 33 mass shootings, America ranked second, with the 49 deaths from the Orlando shooting and had 16 other listings averaging 17 deaths per incident. The New York Times compared the U.S. to other rich — making more than $25,000 GDP per capita — Western countries in gun deaths. America has about 27 per day. Canada and Greece came in second with just five deaths per day.

A Pew Research study from this summer showed that even though mass shootings occur continuously over the years, views on gun ownership have steadily risen and support for gun control has dropped. People with views on either side have met in the middle; 47 percent support gun rights, and 51 percent are for gun control.

There are major dips on views in gun ownership when there are mass attacks like Sandy Hook, but they always shoot back up. And ownership continues to rise, partly due to America’s ability to isolate incidents and find other causes for gun violence. The reasons are deferred to mental health or domestic terrorism, instead of the common denominator found in all incidents: guns.

Norway, for instance, has a low gun homicide rate and has stricter, more reasonable gun laws. Norwegians need a hunting or sporting license, which can only be acquired by completing a “nine-session, 30-hour course on guns, wildlife and environmental protection.” A sports shooting license is issued only upon completion of a firearms safety course of at least nine hours.

Gun control is not synonymous with annexing the Second Amendment, but it does mean protecting the people who live in this country.

Opinion Editor Dana Jones is a print journalism junior and can be reached at [email protected]   

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