- Gun culture in America is present from the time of American Revolution
- American constitution allows all its citizens to own and carry a gun
- US is home to roughly 35 to 50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns
America has always taken pride in its gun culture. Guns have been a part of American culture since time immemorial. Guns were used as a means to hunt for food and make money through the fur market, protection from natives and dealing with large predators also required the use of gun.
Guns played a huge part in the American Revolution against the British solider and their freedom. In 1776, when USA gained independence, Americans were allowed to own and use the firearms to keep to protect their newly independent nation from the tyrannical rule of the ‘old world’ and this right became the basis for the second amendment in American constitution.
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Every law-abiding citizen in the United States is allowed to own or carry a gun. That right comes from the U.S. Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It says: “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.”
Ease of ownership
To purchase a gun in the majority of states, a person needs to be of age, pass the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check and fill out a firearms transaction record.
However, background checks are not currently required for private sales, including those conducted at gun shows. Certain people are banned from owning weapons, including convicted criminals, people with mental health illnesses or non-U.S. citizens. But the system has major holes in it.
Availability of ammunition is very high in U.S. Anybody can easily walk-up to a gun shop or supermarkets where ammunition is sold like chocolate boxes and buy it. Any person can buy any amount of ammunition, which will surely look scary to many. Even some banks provide their account holders with a gun on opening a particular type of account.
While many believe that right to own and use a gun is important and people should be able to defend and protect themselves. But it is hard ignore the fact that many people are killed because of guns.
Like in the case of 1999 Columbine High School massacre, in which 2 high school boys killed 12 students and one teacher. They injured 21 people and 3 more were injured while trying to escape the school. Other than shooting, 2 boys had also planted bombs in cafeteria where the whole thing went down. The pair committed suicide afterwards. This school shooting is considered as the America’s deadliest high school shooting. After columbine America has also seen 59 more school/university shooting which has occurred due to easy availability of guns and ammunitions.
According to BBC, on an average over 35 people were killed every day because of gun violence in 2015. Out 321 million people in USA over 200 million own a legal weapon and there are 88% firearms per 100 people in America.
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In 2015 alone US has witnessed-
- 375 mass shooting in which 450 were killed and over 1000 people were wounded
- 64 school shootings
- All shooting concluded a total 13,286 people getting killed and 26,819 got injured which is more than 12,570 in 2014
The debate on guns is a daily topic in USA. But regardless of where one falls, the fact remains that U.S. gun ownership is exceptionally high and growing. According to the Small Arms Survey, the United States has an average of 116 guns per 100 people, although most of those weapons are owned by a minority of citizens.
The National Rifle Association is a non- profit, pro-gun, lobbying group. Their sole purpose is protection of second amendment. NRA is widely known as the pro-gun organizations and is the public face of the pro-gun movement. They are also one of the reasons as to why America has no strict gun law.
The United States is home to roughly 35 to 50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns, even though it holds less than 5 percent of the world’s population.
-prepared by Bhaskar Raghavendran (with inputs from VOA), a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter: bhaskar_ragha