12 UNSETTELING FACTS ABOUT AMERICA'S GUN OBSESSION
It is fairly safe to say that the debate surrounding America’s gun laws has gotten out of control. In a country with more mass shootings than any other country in the world, American politicians are still refusing to take any strong, resolute action on gun control. This lack of support is despite at least 70% of the American public supporting stricter regulations on background checks. America’s dedication to keeping her 2nd amendment rights (the right to bear arms) free from congressional meddling has produced some serious consequences. Here are a few facts about what lax gun-control laws have made of America:
- Nearly half of the world’s civilian-owned firearms are in America
- That means that the US, literally, has more civilian gun owners than any other country on Earth
- The U.S. has the highest per-capita gun ownership rate with 88.8 guns per every 100 citizens. Switzerland, America’s closest ODEC rival, has 45.7 guns per 100 citizens. Germany, France and Austria have about 30 per 100 citizens and the UK rounds out at 6.2.
- Despite this outrageous figures—gun ownership is actually declining in America. Only 1/3 of American households have registered firearms. The highest level of household ownership was in 1977 at just under 50%. That number exploded in the mid-2000s.
- Gun Owners aren’t all insane. Actually, they’re pretty moderate with 85% supporting background checks for all gun purchases compared to the 83% of non-gun owners. The same group of people are also more likely to support a ban on gun sales to the mentally ill and a 5-day waiting period on gun sales.
- To return to an earlier point—the mentally ill and ex-felons can legally purchase guns in America.
- The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a political powerhouse and holds the key to America’s gun-control debate. In 1987, the NRA strong-armed congress into passing a law that forbids the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from storing any of its records digitally. That’s right—the government office that regulates gun control in the US keeps its files in actual files, requiring that background checks be conducted by hand—a practice that is not only ridiculously outdated but extremely time-consuming. As it stands now, any background check that takes longer than 72 hours can simply be disregarded and the buyer can purchase the gun without it.
- While we’re on the topic of the NRA, let’s talk about how much money they are able to funnel into political campaigns. In the first quarter of 2014 the NRA was able to spend an estimated $800,000 USD on lobbying measures. Compare that to the $250,000 that the collective total that every gun-control organization was able to spend and we’ve got ourselves a bit of a problem.
- The US has more mass shootings than any other country in the world. A mass shooting, as defined by the FBI, is any shooting that kills 4 or more people.
- These mass shootings aren’t caused by gang violence. The most common type of mass shooting is carried out by men (predominately middle-aged and white) who shoot their families before killing themselves.
- The second closest country in the number of mass shootings committed in the past 46 years is the Philippines with 18 shootings in that time period. The U.S. had 90 mass shootings in the same amount of time.
- The U.S. is providing guns for the Mexican Drug War. An estimated 70% of all guns used in the feuds between drug cartels are American made.