Guns in America: Gun culture continues to increase in the U.S.


Photo by Tom Def/Unsplash

Avani Maharaj, Staff Writer

Gun laws in America have been a topic of debate for quite some time in the media, and with the U.S. having significantly more guns than any other country, questions arise as to whether lenient gun laws correlate to the rise in gun violence.

The right to bear arms is considered sacred to many Americans, while critics of the current gun laws believe that it poses a threat to people’s lives.

American gun culture is vastly larger when compared to that of other countries, with 120 guns for every 100 Americans, according to CNN.

Gun culture in America has continued to increase since the start of the pandemic, when organizations, such as the National Rifle Association, urged Americans to be prepared to defend themselves during the pandemic.

Not only did gun sales increase during the pandemic, but gun violence also saw a rise. “Between March 2020 and February 2021, there were about 62,500 firearm-related incidents in the US—15% higher than expected based on previous trends,” according to CNN.

The conversation around guns and gun ownership is divided among Americans, especially between Republicans and Democrats.

“Republicans are currently more likely to say gun laws should be less strict (27%) than stricter (20%),” according to the Pew Research Center.

On the other hand, Democrats favor stricter gun laws. According to the Pew Research Center, “A large majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (81%) say gun laws should be stricter,”

While both political parties lean far right and far left on both sides of the argument, Americans are split as to whether changes to gun regulations would reduce the number of mass shootings.

There have been 173 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2023, according to The Gun Archive; that is more mass shootings than days this year, and this number will more than likely increase, either meeting or exceeding last year’s 647 mass shootings.

“About half of adults (49%) say there would be fewer mass shootings if it was harder for people to obtain guns legally, while about as many either say this would make no difference (42%) or that there would be more mass shootings (9%),” according to the Pew Research Center.

Mass shootings are defined as acts of gun-violence which result in four or more-gun related injuries or deaths and are regarded as an American phenomenon.

“The US is the only developed country where mass shootings have happened every single year for the past 20 years, according to Jason R. Silva, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at William Paterson University,” according to CNN.

According to the Gun Archive, so far there have been 13 mass shootings in Florida in 2023, with the most recent occurring on April 9, leaving 3 dead and 2 injured.

Republican Senator Jay Collins via Twitter

Florida recently made headlines after Gov. DeSantis passed a bill allowing permitless carry. Before being sent to the governor, there was an intense debate in the Florida Senate, with Democrats and Republicans on opposing sides of the bill.

“What does this bill do to ensure responsible gun ownership? It goes backwards because there is no training; nobody is learning how to use a gun properly,” Sen. Tina Polsky (D-Palm Beach) said.

This recently passed bill allows the carrying of a firearm without a permit or training, which has left critics concerned about how this would make citizens safer.

“People do not feel safer when they know that people are wandering around Publix with a gun they learned how to use on YouTube, Brandon Wolf with Equality Florida” said, according to WESH 2.

Supporters of the bill believe that the bill and the measures Florida takes to regulate guns are what keep the state safe.

“I think we have the lowest crime; we have such low crime rates in Florida because everybody does not have a strap on them but has the ability to be strapped,” Sen. Jonathan Martin (R-Lee) said.

Gun culture is a big part of American society, but on a weekly basis, gun violence is continuously seen across the country. Recently, a 16-year-old boy was shot twice for ringing the wrong doorbell and a 6-year-old girl and her parents were shot while playing too close to the wrong house, both stories making headlines.

Similar stories are constantly being told, and as gun regulations continue to become more lenient, reasonable questions arise as to what the future of America will look like as gun culture becomes more prominent.