7 things to know about America and guns

Statue Of Liberty

Another tragic mass shooting has taken place in the United States This time in Florida. What are some of the key facts surrounding America’s gun debate?

According to the BBC, at least 17 individuals have been killed in a mass shooting in Florida high school.

1. The right to bear arms

Proponents of gun-usage in the states is strongly linked with the country’s Second Amendment, which gives its citizens the right to bear arms. Resultantly, attempts to tighten gun control are often met with this roadblock as constitutional change is next to impossible.

The amendment states:

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

2. How many guns are there?

In 2016, NPR reported that Congressional Research estimated that there were over 300 million guns in America. That’s almost as many guns as there are people.

3. The NRA

One of the biggest groups to support the current set-up with regards to the freedom to own and use guns is the National Rifle Association (NRA). According to UK Business Insider, between January and June last year, the group spent $3.2 million on promoting its position.

4. What do Republican voters think?

There is a common stereotype that Republicans oppose gun control while Democrats support it. In truth, it’s more complicated than that as the issue is not a binary one, rather gun control exists on a continuum with some measures being more controlling that others.

Interestingly, Time reported a 2017 Morning Consult/Politico Survey, in which 49% of Republicans said they favoured some degree of gun control.

5. Mass shootings are becoming “deadlier”

According to Politico, data indicates that mass shootings are not becoming more common, however, it does suggest that such attacks are getting “deadlier”.

6. The deadliest mass shooting

According to CNN, of “the 30 deadliest shootings in the US dating back to 1949, 19 have occurred in the last 10 years”.

This is a striking fact.

The deadliest shooting since 1949 took place last year in Vegas, in which 58 people were killed. The next deadliest attack took place the year before in Orlando. No fewer than 49 individuals were killed.

7. Gun deaths

While mass shootings are a serious problem in America, the BBC has highlighted that most gun deaths are a result of suicide. In 2014, there were 21,386 gun suicides compared to 11,008 homicides - including deaths from mass shootings.