The recent mass shootings at Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay have caused some organizations to talk about more calls for more protections against gun violence according to ABC 10 News.
“The California Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus held a vigil on the steps of the Capitol in honor of the people lost in Monterey Park. The Chair of the caucus said people should expect a lot more action from them moving forward to address gun violence.”
While some calls have been made to push for current bills that address gun violence to be more restrictive on owning guns, the issue of gun violence is more complex than most Americans think when the topic is brought up.
One example of this is the term itself. In a book by Rachel Wamser Nanney called Psychology of Violence, it has a section that dives into the topic of gun violence where it describes the issue as, “an umbrella term that includes different types of violence that involve a firearm, including mass shootings, smaller acts of violence, and individual homicides and suicides.”
The book goes on to point out that it is important to know the subsections within gun violence as it helps understand the motives, risks, impacts, and aftermaths. By knowing these factors, decisions can be made to help handle those situations to decrease the chances of such tragedies occurring again.
However, even though many cases have similar factors, other causes are hard to deal with when it comes to the scale of it all.
California is known to have some of the strictest gun laws in the whole country. According to the state’s official government website, the state has enacted many policies since the 1990s surrounding the process of owning firearms as well as banning specific assault weapons deemed dangerous.
The website also points out the effects of these policies that have led to a decrease in the death rate by firearms in comparison to the nation’s rate.
Yet despite that, the state continues to face incidents of gun violence like the Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay shootings. So far the state has suffered five mass shootings within the first month of 2023 according to Gun Violence Archive.
The archive also lists a total of around 50 mass shootings that have occurred in the U.S. as of January 29th, 2023.
Not only that, but the archives also show that mass shootings have increased in the past few years with the past three years reaching over 600 incidents as BBC reported.
With these incidents of gun violence continuing to occur almost twice a day, it is difficult to see how effective the current policies and gun control laws are.
Matthew Lang, a professor of economics at the University of California Riverside said to ABC News, “California is known for having strict gun laws, but it is not surprising that guns are prevalent in the state.”
The reason for this is given later on in the article, “There are too many guns in the U.S. to completely prevent gun violence in any given state, the experts said. Gun violence is continuing to affect a large number of Californians but at much lower rates than other states.”
Because the country has so many guns, it increases the chance of someone using one however they like. This is why deaths by firearms have ranged from the young to the old and all have various backgrounds across the country. Even more, strict background checks and bans on certain types of guns can’t prevent someone from getting their hands on one who plans to use it for violence.
In an interview between Geoff Bennett for PBS News and Jennifer Mascia from The Trace, Jennifer explained more in-depth about gun violence through explanations of various factors brought up by Geoff’s questions.
“Yes, all types of crime are going down. But gun violence is going up probably because there are 400 million guns in civilian hands in this country. It's just simple math. The more guns that are around, the more people are going to use them.”
Another point she talks about is that since most states do not have laws that punish those who leave firearms openly for kids to see and take, this has led to guns being the leading cause of death among kids throughout the U.S.
“They're getting access because, in most of the country, there are no laws that criminalize leaving guns accessible to children. So, you have a situation where there are millions of guns in households. And there's no safety training that goes with that. There's no mandatory class about how to keep a gun secure and safe, and there are no laws, so, the 2020 gun-related injuries became the leading cause of death among kids.”
Despite gun violence continuing to remain, policies, laws, and programs can help reduce the number of incidents leading to all manners of injuries and deaths linked to firearms.
Berkeley News under The University of California, Berkeley, reported on a non-profit program called Advance Peace which aims to help provide those involved in firearms and in hard-to-reach populations that have the most likelihood of committing gun violence with their anti-gun violence programs.
Through their connections with social services, internship opportunities, and programs designed to help those involved in gun violence to step away from it, the reduction of gun-related incidents has dropped according to their website.
A different article by Prevention Institute lists many different factors that need to be handled and provides advice on possible solutions to help deal with gun violence. These include the implementation of gun laws, establishing a culture of gun safety, providing health programs to help victims and suspects, raising pressure to push politicians to focus more on helping deal with gun violence, and focus on providing care toward mental health.
While gun violence is an issue that currently is not going to go away anytime soon, continuing to provide solutions to reduce the number of incidents is a good direction to take.
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