Our Big, Ugly Problem With Guns Can Be Summarized In Just One Graph
In a depressingly familiar turn of events, Wednesday's shooting in Roanoke, Virginia has reopened the national conversation about gun control in the U.S. After WDBJ7 employees Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were killed on-air by a gunman, since identified as former WDBJ7 employee Vester Flanagan, pleas for gun safety in the U.S. resurfaced. Parker's father, Andy Parker, spoke with Fox News about his personal mission to tighten gun laws in the U.S., and his mission to crack down on gun laws is one that is supported by most Americans. As Vox.com noted in a news headline Thursday, "America doesn't have more crime than other rich countries. It just has more guns."
With cataclysmic events like Sandy Hook and the 1999 Columbine High School massacre still fresh in the minds of many, the story of gun violence in the U.S. is not a new one. In light of the recent shootings at a Charleston, South Carolina church and a Louisiana movie theater, however, the ongoing issue is back at the forefront of discussion this summer.
The below graphic from Everytown for Gun Safety is, perhaps, the most visually stunning proof of the shocking degree gun-related crime in America. You don't even have to look at the numbers to see the astonishing discrepancy, and to be aware that this country far, far exceeds other developed countries when it comes to firearm deaths.
According to the 2007 Small Arms Survey, the U.S. makes up 5 percent of the world's population but has about 35-50 percent of the world's guns. This isn't an accident. In a report, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) noted what is known as the "gun show loophole" in the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1968, which allows anyone to purchase a gun without a background check. The CFR also noted that as of 2015, there were no laws banning the purchase of "semiautomatic assault weapons, military-style .50 caliber rifles, handguns, or large-capacity ammunition magazines."
The dialogue about gun control is one that Mother Jones suggested might have actually become too common in recent years. A story originally published on April 20, 2014, the 15th anniversary of Columbine, pointed to the noticeable apathy some Americans seem to have toward gun crimes in the U.S.
Whatever the root cause of the national inability to lower this number of preventable deaths, there have been no serious gun control reforms considered since the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 children and six teachers were killed. The sense is that, if a horror of that degree can't implore the Senate to pass a reasonable gun control bill, it's difficult to say what will. And so, we watch — over and over again — as more people are senselessly killed by weapons that every other developed country banned or restricted years ago.
Images: Everytown for Gun Safety (1)