The Truths of Gun Violence

Let's set the record straight on this.

gun muzzle close up

MMany people believe guns lead to violence. This may seem like a reasonable belief, but it’s untrue. Guns do not equal more murders. Actually, research has repeatedly shown the number of violent crimes has decreased as the number of guns purchased has increased.
So, what has caused the significant number of death by guns? It’s not what you would think.

Let’s take Pennsylvania for instance. Guns are involved in approximately 1,400 deaths each year. These deaths are not all homicides. Most of them are suicides.

In 2014, there were 465 murders by gun. In the same year, there were 894 deaths by gun suicide. The number of people who died by self-inflicted gunshot wounds was nearly doubled. Suicide by gun has long been a part of gun violence rates. In 2001, 681 people committed suicide with a gun and then in 2013, the number peaked at 914 cases. The number of murders by gun has always stayed right around 450 with 444 murders by gun recorded in 2011.

What surprises people the most is all of the media reports of shootings. With all of the media attention on shootings, it can seem as though guns are the problem. However, it’s seldom the guns that are the issue – it’s the people holding them. There are other truths behind gun violence. Many people believe people who shoot others or themselves with guns are African American. Actually, 85 percent of the people who committed suicide with a gun were white men. Gun violence is not an African American, inner-city problem, as many people believe. The term gun violence isn’t even accurate. It should be simply “violence.”

The Solution for Gun Violence
As people face the reality of “gun violence,” they will see that it’s not the number of guns sold that affects how many people die by gun. They will realize that despite the growing number of gun owners and illegal guns on the streets, there are fewer people being murdered with guns. While this may be good news for gun advocates, what about the suicides? It’s obvious the link between gun accessibility and suicide must be addressed to decrease the number of suicides by gun. The only way to solve this is to continue background checks on people who are purchasing a gun legally, and increase awareness of the dangers of guns and mental illness. With public awareness, more people will be conscious of leaving guns around those who may use them to commit suicide and intervene to have guns removed from those who are at risk. As far as the number of illegal guns on the streets, law enforcement must continue to work on identifying and confiscating illegal gun rings on the streets.