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  • By Alyssa L. Brennan

Gun violence stays prevalent in the U.S.

On Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, two women and a child were shot at Texas A&M University-Commerce residence hall. The women were killed, but according to the Washington Post, the toddler is in stable condition.

On the same day, there was a shooting in Los Angeles that left one dead and five injured, according to a New York Times article by Alan Yuhas.

“The police received a call about a gunman shooting on the bus, heading from Los Angeles to the Bay Area, at about 1:27 a.m., Sgt. Brian Pennings of the California Highway Patrol told reporters on Monday,” Yuhas said in the article.

Fortunately, the passengers and driver were able to convince the shooter to get off of the bus unarmed.

Unfortunately, the list goes on for that same day. There was also a shooting in Down East Maine where three were killed and a fourth injured which caused Machias schools to go on lockdown, according to News Center Maine.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have already been 28 mass shootings in 2020. Statistics from the Gun Violence Archive show that since 2019, South Carolina has had 11 mass shootings, 16 murder/suicide incidents deaths from homicides and unintentional incidents. Thirteen children have been killed and 19 injured, and 20 teenagers have been killed and 40 injured in South Carolina since 2019.

Gifford’s Law Center keeps gun violence statistics showing that 100 Americans are killed with guns every day with the number being on the rise. The statistics from Gifford’s Law Center show that the 10 states with the highest gun death rates have some of the weakest gun laws in the nation, likewise Hawaii “has the lowest gun death rate and some of the strongest gun laws in the country. Comparatively, only two people are killed with guns for every 100,000 residents – less than one-tenth Alaska’s rate,” according to Gifford’s Law Center statistics.

Studies done by Boston University help confirm that gun restrictions lead to less gun violence. Michael Siegal, a researcher from Boston University School of Public Health, said in an article from The Brink, “the main lesson that comes out of this research is that we know which laws work. Despite the fact that opponents of gun regulation are saying, ‘We don’t know what’s going on, it’s mental health issues, it’s crazy people,’ which doesn’t lend itself to a solution – the truth is that we have a pretty good grasp at what’s going on. People who shouldn’t have access to guns are getting access.”

Siegel and his team “analyzed 25 years of national data to examine the relationship between 10 different types of state laws and the number of deaths by homicide and suicide in all 50 states,” according to The Brink. Siegal’s studies found that state gun laws requiring a universal background check for all gun sales resulted in homicide rates 15% lower than states without them. Laws that didn’t allow people who have a history of violent crimes to possess guns resulted in a homicide rate 18% lower. Siegal also found that enforcing permit requirements was quite effective.

According to an article from PBS Newshour, there were “Congress [had] 110 gun bills on the table” most of which were “related to the gun debate” as of August 2019. Some passed through the House of Representatives but did not move forward in Senate, such as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act.

Clearly, there is a link between gun laws and gun violence which Americans continue to ignore. The issue has continued to be prevalent, yet it has continued to be swept under the rug. Because of this, another child has been shot, people are murdered daily, schools are constantly on lockdown, and we hardly bat an eye anymore. This is a uniquely American problem.

Gifford’s Law Center goes on to compare the United States to the rest of the world. The United States is home to just 4% of the world’s population, however it accounts for “35% of global firearm suicides and 9% of global firearm homicides. The US gun homicide rate is 25 times that of other high-income countries [and has] a suicide rate [that is] 10 times that of other high-income countries. Women [in the US are also] 21 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other high-income countries,” the article said.

There is solid proof that stronger gun laws lead to less gun violence. With more regulation on who is owning a gun, gun violence rates could decrease nationwide. Once Americans accept that and push for change, our country can be a safer place for everyone.

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