Issue of the Issue: Gun Violence On the Rise

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The Monterey Park shooting which claimed 10 lives and injured 10 others was the deadliest mass shooting since Uvalde in May 2022. Both sparked numerous conversations surrounding gun violence: how do we stay safe in a time where mass shootings are the not-so-new normal?

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 647 mass shootings in 2022, 690 in 2021, 610 in 2020 and 417 in 2019 — four consecutive years where there were more mass shootings than days in the year. A study referenced by the Associated Press stated that gun violence has been on the rise since 2005, but a 20 percent jump occurred between 2019 and 2020, an aggravation caused most likely by anguish from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There are more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, or enough for every man, woman and child to own one and still have 67 million guns left over,” The Washington Post stated in 2018, referencing the Small Arms Survey, a project by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. But what does having so many guns mean? Does it make us safer when good guys are locked and loaded or are we just running the chance of firearms getting into the wrong hands?

This is just one issue where pro-gun and pro-gun control activists diverge. Those who are pro-gun argue that more guns make people safer. More Guns, Less Crime by John R. Lott Jr. takes instances of gun control from the national to the local level, and finds that concealed carry laws were correlated with a decrease in violent crime. On the contrary, those who are for gun control seem to view the issue from an international standpoint — if the US is the country with both the most mass shootings and the most guns, they conclude that there must be a correlation between the two.

Even locally, Santa Clarita’s gun violence rates seem to be on the rise — in January, two gun-related incidents made headlines. A Marine veteran deputy who served in Afghanistan who took his own life opened up even broader conversations surrounding gun violence — what about suicide by firearms?

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control cited by EveryStat (an extension of Everytown for Gun Safety specializing in statistics related to gun violence), 51 percent of all suicides in the US involve a gun and these gun inflicted suicides occur every 22 minutes. Like all other forms of gun violence, gun suicide rates have been increasing, with EveryStat showing a 12 percent climb between 2011 and 2020.

The solution to America’s gun violence epidemic remains unclear and unresolved. Some think gun laws are too strict as is. Others believe civilians shouldn’t have guns in the first place. Despite what views different sides have to offer, we can all agree on one thing: America has a problem.