Much has been said about gun violence in the United States. Both liberal and conservative voices have their expert witnesses, statistics, opinions, and theories about how to fix gun violence in the country. Recently, the ability for consumers to purchase guns online has become a large concern for consumer safety advocates. Websites like Armslist are free websites that host ads to buy and sell weapons. Now private citizens can go to the internet, search for the gun of their choice and purchase it without undergoing any type of background checks. The reality is, if someone in the U.S. wants to get a gun they can and will. Whether they go through a licensed gun dealer or purchase it on the internet. This has some analysts wondering if making stricter gun laws is truly the answer to solving gun violence in the nation, or if there are other issues that can be addressed to solve the crisis.
This avenue of thinking is not new, but has still never been properly investigated. Why is it that countries with laxer gun laws than the U.S. and even more guns in general, have drastically lower gun violence rates? Countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Canada have a lot more guns and even have gun festivals with shooting competitions for kids. Yet when comparing the United States and these countries, the main difference that keeps bobbing to the service is that these countries have programs in place to take care of their citizens. For example, most citizens aren’t saddled with debt or stress because they can go to school, to the doctor, and take time off work to raise their children without the fear of going bankrupt or losing their jobs.
U.S. citizens are mostly on their own. And if they don’t have the necessary resources or support to help them, they could easily become homeless and turn to a life of crime for survival. Drug addicts, individuals with criminal records, and the mentally ill have very few resources; and as the news indicates, drugs, mental illness, and desperation are often strong drivers behind gun violence. So perhaps the answer to gun violence isn’t less access to guns, but more access to resources and programs that keep Americans financially, mentally, and socially stable.
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