If you were President and had a House majority and Senate supermajority on your side, how would you address gun violence in our country?
For statistics on U.S. gun violence, read below...
The rate of violent crimes, overall homicides, and gun related homicides were at a peak near the mid 1990s, each having had risen steadily since the FBI started tracking such data in the early 1960s. At the end of 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was enacted, which mandated federal background checks on commercial firearm purchasers in the U.S. Since then, the rate of violent crimes, overall homicides, and gun related homicides have been declining steadily and are now near their early 1960s levels, returning to half the rate it was in 1993.
Overall U.S. gun ownership rates have also decreased more gradually, from an estimated 50% to 40% in the past 70 years. But the number of guns per capita has almost tripled in the same time span. There are now more guns than people in the United States although only 40% of people in the United States possess them. By comparison, only one other country in the world has more than half as many guns as people living in that country.
There appears to be very little correlation between gun numbers and homicide rates when comparing these in countries around the world. Countries that have the highest homicide rates are among the lowest in terms of guns owned, and the countries with the lowest homicide rates are among the highest in terms of guns owned, including the U.S. Even among developed nations, the U.S. has only a slightly higher homicide rate than countries with vastly smaller number of firearms per capita.
However, the rate of gun related homicides in the U.S. is a lot higher than these other developed countries. It makes up for 70% of all homicides in the U.S., a sharp rise from a few years ago. This is more pronounced in U.S. states with higher gun ownership rates and guns per capita.
There also appears to be a correlation between states with higher homicide rates and less restrictive gun control laws, similar to the FBI data after the Brady bill above. This is despite the fact that illegally possessed guns are used in 65% of gun related crimes in states with more restrictive gun control laws compared to 40% in states with less restrictive gun control laws.
Suicides and mass shootings are also on the rise in the U.S. (and, in the case of suicides, worldwide). Mass shootings are generally defined as acts of violence in which a shooter kills at least four victims, but which excludes gang killings, domestic violence, or terrorist acts. The number of mass shootings have tripled to an average of 5.4 per year the past twelve years, from an average of 1.6 per year between 1982 and 2006. The number of fatalities from mass shootings have increased fourfold since then as well. A mass shooting occurring on school grounds has been occurring at a rate of once per year.