According to the American Public Health Association, gun violence is the number one leading cause of premature death in the U.S. As mass shootings continue to increase, the lack of gun control in this country becomes more and more apparent. To dive into this problem, we must explore the different factors that it involves.
To start, why does the US have a higher gun violence rate than other countries? The United States simply has more guns compared to other countries and what makes it fatal is the weak gun laws that we have. This gives people easier access to gun ownership. When gun possessions are high, rates of homicide, suicide and other types of violent assault cases also increase.
But what causes the cases to increase? Mass media plays a huge role in this. Nowadays, certain video games, movies and music videos glorify aggressive behaviors, usage of automatic weapons and desensitization to violence. As more people are exposed to this, the more normalized it becomes. This encourages people, especially late adolescents, to engage in the unrealistic portrayal of what the media shows them, which could be a reason why mass shooters seem to be younger. It is reported that in the deadliest mass shootings in the US, the perpetrators are often men that are 21 or younger. As the crime perpetuates even more, it further influences others to commit similar crimes and other harmful actions. However, there are other factors that contribute to the increasing gun violence in our community, such as systematic inequality.
Does gun violence impact some people more than others? Yes, certain communities are more at risk than others. Minority groups are more likely to experience gun threats and violence as well as the trauma from it. This is because of the lack of resources, opportunities and support that they get. A person and/or a group’s environment also contributes to this. Black and brown communities are often oppressed by structural racist policies while the LGBTQ community tends to be denied by our society and are more likely to experience hate crimes.
Is there any way we can reduce gun violence in our country? Yes. The government can start by addressing the social and economic issues that cause it, begin enforcing stricter gun control laws, and provide more support and services to the community. We can also help by raising awareness and educating others about this social problem as well as practice safety drills. Supporting and funding organizations and programs that focus on gun violence intervention and prevention can also help alleviate gun violence in our country. There are many more ways we can help establish a safe culture without the threat of firearms surrounding us, but we must start by identifying the root causes.