This is NOT a post about the pros and cons concerning gun control but just an interesting item concerning facts about America and guns.
If you’ve read here very long then you know how facts and numbers fascinate me. 🙂
There are an estimated 270 million guns in the hands of civilians in the United States, making Americans the most heavily armed people in the world per capita. Yemen, a tribal nation with no history of strong central government or the rule of law, comes in a distant second.
From Washington to the well-stocked shelves of Walmart stores nationwide, guns are regarded in the United States as a commonplace if controversial consumer item for millions of law-abiding hunters, collectors and citizens concerned about their safety. They are also in the hands of thousands of killers too; a Washington-based anti-gun lobby says those guns shoot more than 100,000 people a year. In 2010, there were more than 30,000 deaths caused by firearms when the number of homicides, suicides and accidental deaths are tallied.
By the time the United States was established, its citizens had taken up arms not only against their Native American neighbors but the army of their own king. Their new constitution reflected that in its Bill of Rights, declaring that “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.” For more than two centuries, that remained an important but largely overlooked guarantee, subjected to a modest series of controls.
But in 2008 and 2010, landmark Supreme Court rulings gave that constitutional right sweeping new power, dramatically diminishing the authority of state and local governments to limit gun ownership. Gun-friendly lawmakers have been active, too. Roughly half of the 50 U.S. states have adopted laws allowing gun owners to carry their guns openly in most public places. About as many states have “stand your ground” laws that allow people to kill if they come under threat, even, in some cases, if they can escape the threat without violence.
The laws are being driven by politics, and the politics are being driven by groups such as the National Rifle Association. Once a relatively modest organization of gun enthusiasts and hunters, it has become one of the most powerful political groups in the country. The Washington Post estimates that the NRA succeeded in helping elect four out of every five candidates it endorsed in the most recent congressional election. In addition to that extraordinary impact in Congress, it has been working to overturn gun-control laws in the courts. The NRA and other gun-rights groups have allied themselves with the Republican Party and, especially, a sector of the American public suspicious of government intrusions into private life and often flatly hostile to Washington.