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Gun Laws in the US and Other Countries

The United States recently witnessed two episodes of mass shootings in a span of two weeks that killed more than 30 people, including school children. There have been a total of 27 school shootings, according to Education Week, which has been documenting them since 2018. President Joe Biden echoed this in his address to the nation, asking why this kind of mass shooting happens in the US more often than in other countries in the world.


Guns are embedded in American culture and political discourse. The second amendment to the US constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, and about a third of US adults say they personally own a gun. At the same time, President Joe Biden and other policymakers proposed new restrictions on firearms access in an effort to address gun violence ranging from rising murder rates to mass shootings.


The recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas involving young children, has reignited the national US debate about access to firearms. Between 1968 and 2017, 1.5 million people were killed by firearms, which is more than the number of soldiers killed in any US conflict since the American Revolution.


Figures from a small arms survey conducted by a Swiss-based leading research project estimate that there are 390 million guns in circulation in 2018. The United States has a much higher weapons-to-residents ratio than most countries, with 120.5 firearms per 100 people.


There are some key findings about Americans’ attitudes toward gun violence and gun policy drawn from recent surveys by the Pew Research Center and Gallup. They are


•Four out of every ten adults in the United States live in homes with guns. There are differences in gun ownership rates by political party affiliation, gender, geography, and other factors. For instance, 44% of Republicans say they personally own a gun, compared to 20% of Democrats.


Men are more likely than women to own a gun (39% vs. 22%). And 41% of adults in rural areas own a firearm, compared with about 29% living in the suburbs and 2 in 10 living in the cities.


•Personal protection tops the list of reasons gun owners say they own a firearm. In a 2019 Gallup survey, gun owners were most likely to cite personal safety as the reason why they own a firearm. Roughly 6 in 10 said this is an open-ended question. A considerably smaller percentage of people gave other reasons, including hunting, nonspecific recreation, or sports; that their gun was an antique or a family heirloom; or that the gun was related to their line of work.

•Around half of Americans see gun violence as a very big problem in the country today. In the survey in 2021, this was due to the federal budget deficit, violent crimes, illegal immigration, and the coronavirus outbreak. The one big issue viewed as a big problem by the majority is the affordability of health care.

• Gun violence attitudes vary greatly by race, ethnicity, political party, and community type. About 8 in 10 black adults say gun violence is a very big problem. By comparison, about 6 in 10 Hispanic adults, 4 in 10 white adults, and a small number of Asian Americans view gun violence this way.

• Approximately half of Americans favour stricter gun laws, a decrease from 2019.According to a survey in April 2021, 32% say it is right, and 14% say it should be less strict. The share of Americans who say gun laws should be stricter has decreased from 2019.

• Americans are divided on whether limiting legal gun ownership would result in fewer mass shootings. About half of adults say there would be fewer mass shootings if it were harder for people to obtain guns legally. The rest of them say this would make no difference, and 9% of Americans say there would be more mass shootings.

• There is broad agreement on some gun policy proposals, but the majority are politically divisive. Majorities in both parties favour two policies that would restrict gun access: preventing people with mental illnesses from purchasing firearms and requiring background checks on private gun sales. The majority in both parties also oppose allowing people to carry concealed firearms without a permit. But the difference is that more Democrats favour creating a database to track all gun sales and banning high-capacity weapons and ammunition that holds more than ten rounds. But the Republicans opposed this proposal.


72% support carrying concealed guns, and 66% support allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns.


• Gun ownership is closely related to opinions on gun policies. This is true even among gun owners and non-owners within the same party.

• Rural Americans are more likely to favour expanded gun rights. Americans in metropolitan regions, on the other hand, prefer more restricted rules.


However, deaths from “mass shootings” that garner international attention are more difficult to track. The members of Congress should never depend on a substantial budget to influence the members of the National Rifle Association, which is the most powerful gun lobby in the United States. For example, in 2021, Texas governor Greg Abbott signed a law called the “permitless carry bill” that allows the state’s residents to carry handguns without a licence or training.


Similarly, Georgia became the 25th state in the nation to eliminate the need for a permit to conceal or openly carry a firearm, which allows any citizen of the state to carry a firearm without a licence or a permit. This law was backed by the National Rifle Association.


Although in a country like the United States, the practise of holding a firearm by a common citizen cannot be completely banned due to the various reasons listed above, after seeing the recent shootings of innocent people and school children, stringent restrictions, accountability, and tracking of firearms should be strictly implemented.






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