For Americans, it’s a basic right to bear arms, but at what cost? The U.S. has a significant number of gun-related deaths each year, including an increase in mass shootings.
This type of public, violent crime takes place every two weeks on average, according to Sherry Towers, a research professor at Arizona State University. She estimates 20 to 30 percent are inspired by previous attacks. This is triple the number of public mass shootings since 2011.
When it comes to the total number of firearm-related deaths in America, some of the most striking statistics revolve around how common these deaths are compared to other countries around the world.
When compared to Canada, Australia or France, Americans are 10 times more likely to be killed by a gun, according to David Hemenway, professor of public health at Harvard School of Public Health.
In fact, more than 30,000 people are killed by guns across the country every year, and this number is considered a low estimate due to the fact that many gun-related deaths are unaccounted for as some shootings slip through the cracks and are not reported by the Centers for Disease Control.
How is this possible? One argument could be the availability of guns in the U.S.
In Arizona, for example, state law mandates that any resident over the age of 21 who is not a prohibited possessor may purchase a gun from a retailer and carry a weapon openly or concealed without a license.
They must undergo and pass a federal background check, unless they already have a permit or license, when purchasing from a retailer, but that’s not the only way to obtain a gun.
Firearms are often sold privately, auctioned, passed down or acquired illegally, which are all processes that don’t require background checks or licensing.
As a result of this increase, gun control laws are being questioned by Americans. After the mass shooting in Oregon, CNN released a poll that found 52 percent of people in the U.S. are opposed to stricter gun control.
Will these numbers inspire lawmakers to revisit current laws? That remains to be seen.