17 Articles You Can Read About Gun Violence To Put This Epidemic Into Perspective

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On Dec 14., the nation will recognize the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. This tragic anniversary might leave people looking for more information to explain such a uniquely American issue, one that only seems to have grown in volume and severity each year. For those who are interested, there are countless articles to read about gun violence in America that will put the epidemic into perspective.

An interactive feature by Vox illustrates just how many mass shootings have taken place since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. It reports that there have been at least 1,917 mass shootings since then, with over 2,175 killed and over 8,000 injured. Vox further notes that since 2013, there has only been one full calendar week without a mass shooting (the week of Jan. 5, 2014).

Before a cultural issue can be solved, it must first be understood. The more people who actually understand what gun violence in America looks like, the more likely it will be that the American people elect politicians who are focused on combating the problem head-on, in the hopes that a tragedy like Sandy Hook will never happen again.

Here are 17 articles to read about gun violence that will help you understand the problem from every angle:

How Easy It Is To Legally Buy A Gun In The United States

This article by The New York Times shows just how much easier it is to legally purchase a gun in the United States compared to other countries.

For example, in Japan you have to go through 12 steps before purchasing a gun, including applying for a gunpowder permit and giving an interview with police about why you need a gun. Comparatively in the United States, you have to take a background check, and then you can purchase a gun.

Just How Many People Die Every Year From Gun Violence

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According to The Washington Post, there were over 12,000 gun-related deaths in 2018, and 68 deaths as the result of a mass shooting; mass shootings, in this instance, are defined as any incident in which four or more people were killed by a lone shooter or two shooters.

And according to that same article, at least 175 of the weapons obtained by mass shooters were purchased legally (many of the shooters had multiple weapons).

How Australia Significantly Decreased Its Rate of Gun Violence

Fortune details the process that Australia went through to diminish gun violence in the country, in the wake of a mass shooting that left 35 dead and 18 injured. Within weeks of the event, Australia passed a bill that banned semiautomatic weapons. What's more, lawmakers introduced a gun buyback program that incentivized owners to sell their guns back to the government.

Why America Needs Gun Control, By A Parkland Survivor

Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez wrote an op-ed for Teen Vogue arguing why the United States needs better gun control laws.

Gonzalez wrote, "Young people in this country have experienced gun violence for their entire lives, only to be faced with a number of representatives and officials who have been seduced by the gun lobby or have generally failed to make effective change."

Why The Sandy Hook Shooting Should Still Be At The Top Of Your Mind

A Sandy Hook parent who was also a library clerk at the school wrote for Vogue about the lasting impact of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

She wrote, "Every day—every single day—I think of those who died, those who were left behind to deal with their grief, and the person I used to be. Some days, the images slide by like a movie in my mind."

The Complicated History Of Gun Control Legislation

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This detailed timeline by The Washington Post follows the history of gun control legislation in the United States, from the first federal gun control law in 1934 onward. The timeline shows how startlingly few laws have been passed from 1934 to 2013, at the time of the article's publication.

How The NRA "Resurrected" The Power Of The Second Amendment

The Second Amendment wasn't always as central to American politics as it is now. Vox breaks down how the NRA brought the Second Amendment to the forefront of the conversation in the nation, starting in the 1970s.

How The Gun Violence Epidemic Involves More Than Mass Shootings

FiveThirtyEight claims that, in a way, mass shootings have warped Americans' understanding of gun violence. Specifically, the article argues that mass shootings are not a comprehensive enough proxy for the diversity of gun violence, which also includes everything from suicides (the highest gun-related cause of death) to homicides.

How School Shootings Are Becoming Deadlier Than Ever

School shootings were the worst they've ever been in 2018, Vox reports. The article sites a database that confirms 2018 was the worst year on record for school shootings, with 94 gun violence incidents recorded at schools for the year, which isn't even over yet.

What Gun Violence Looks Like, Across 10 Separate Charts

This BBC article breaks down the gun violence epidemic across a range of variables, from which countries own the most guns, to the list of the worst mass shootings since 1991. One such chart reveals that public opinion is the most divided over the "concealed carry" policy.

Gun Violence As A "Public Health" Problem

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According to the Yale School of Public Health, gun violence is a public health issue, and should be treated as such. This article explains how critical the role of public health officials is currently and will be in the future as the nation works toward better gun control.

What The Toll Of Gun Violence Really Looks Like

For U.S. News & World Report, a survivor of the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting shared how the incident has shaped both her life and the life of her family.

She said, "Everything about a public space now gets me so scared. Going to school, I'm constantly watching my back. It really has, for now, destroyed my life. I don't feel safe going anywhere, nor do I want to go anywhere."

How Gun Violence Has Been A Part Of The Nation's History Far Before It Dominated Mainstream Conversation

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This exhaustive breakdown by RealClearPolitics explains how gun violence may be reaching new levels, but clarifies that it would be wrong to say it's a "new" problem for the United States. It also points out that gun violence in America, though unique for comparable developed countries, is by no means an issue entirely exclusive to the United States.

How Incidents Of Domestic Violence Can Be "Foreseeable"

The Washington Post explained how many clear "warning signs" there are for victims of domestic violence leading up to their deaths. For example, the article notes that in Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, San Diego, and St. Louis, 36 percent of the men implicated in a domestic violence killing had had a restraining order against them at one point.

What It Feels Like To Be The Parent Of A Mass Shooter

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Terri Roberts' son, Charlie Roberts, walked into an Amish school in 2006 and fatally shot five young girls. To The Guardian, she said, "I was – always will be – his mother. Surely if anyone could spot signs of trouble it would be the woman who gave birth to him. At what point did bitterness begin to seethe beneath the surface contentment? Or hate tug harder at the mind and heart than love?”

The One Thing That Most Mass Shooters Have In Common

... They're men. According to The New York Times, the only thing that almost all mass shooters in the United States have had in common is that they were men. What's more, they are, more often than not, white. The article lists many other smaller similarities that the shooters tend to share, as well.

Just How Powerful An AR-15 Really Is

In a powerful essay for The Atlantic, a Florida radiologist detailed her experience working with victims of the Parkland school shooting. She wrote, "A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than—and imparting more than three times the energy of—a typical 9mm bullet from a handgun."

On Friday, dozens of vigils will take place across the country to honor the children and adults who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook shooting. You can find out about vigils taking place near you through the Newtown Foundation. If you want to take additional steps toward legislative action to prevent future gun violence, you can support movements like Everytown for Gun Safety and March for Our Lives.

You can also find out who your congressional representative is and call them to let them know how you feel about the current state of gun violence in the country. YouLobby has sample scripts you can look over that detail the various laws that could be put into place to prevent future violence. Furthermore, you can tell your congressional representative that you will not support their future candidacy if they're being funded by the NRA.