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Mass shootings aren’t the biggest reason for gun control

Senior+Corin+Vogel+speaks+to+the+crowd+at+the+student-led+gun+control+walkout+in+April.
Senior Corin Vogel speaks to the crowd at the student-led gun control walkout in April.

Senior Corin Vogel speaks to the crowd at the student-led gun control walkout in April.

Noah Siderhurst

Noah Siderhurst

Senior Corin Vogel speaks to the crowd at the student-led gun control walkout in April.

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When we think about gun violence, mass shootings are what comes most readily to mind. But while mass shootings should be addressed, there is a much larger issue with guns in this country. I’m not talking about outlandish assault rifles used in mass shootings, I’m talking about handguns used in murder and suicide.

In the US, guns are responsible for 64% of deaths, according to the BBC. In Australia, guns only account for 13% of deaths. The murder rate in Australia overall was 1 per 100,000, way below the US murder rate of 5.3 per 100,000. The key difference between these two countries is their view of guns. Australia has implemented stringent gun laws while the US has not. Take from that what you will.

In 2014, there were 33,594 gun deaths in the US. Of those, only 14 died from mass shooting (granted that would be much higher in recent years). 21,386 people committed suicide with a gun. 11,008 homicides were committed with a gun.

Much of this small-scale (as small-scale as taking a life can be) gun violence happens to disadvantaged people – those in poor areas such as inner cities. In these areas, shootings are commonplace.

It’s hard to make people feel numbers. But this is incredible. Just the sheer magnitude of humanity that has been destroyed by guns is terrifying.

Of course it’s a complicated issue. Of course there will be challenges. It’s hard to keep anything completely illegal. But we have to do something or people will continue to be able to take a life with the twitch of a finger.

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Mass shootings aren’t the biggest reason for gun control