Is it true 'guns don't kill people, people kill people'?
- The slogan “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” commonly used by advocates of America’s Constitutional Second Amendment or by the National Rifle Association, has come to make the point that guns or any other lethal weapon don’t go off without some sort of human intervention; therefore, humans, and not weapons, are responsible.
- Forty-two percent of American adults owned at least one gun in 2021, which has remained steady since 1972 according to Statista.
- Divided by party, 32% of Republicans, 59% of independents, and 91% of Democrats are in favor of stricter gun laws in America.
- Gun Violence Archive reported a 25% increase in gun violence from 2019 to 2020, totaling 19,223 deaths. From January to April 8, 2021, there were 11,428 deaths by gun, and 4,960 from homicide, murder, or unintentional gun death.
- The 2021 National Firearms Survey found that in 2021, “guns [were] used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year” with handguns being “the most common firearm employed for self-defense (used in 65.9% of defensive incidents),” and in 81.9% of defensive incidents, no shots were fired.
The idea of increasing a government's control over gun ownership in America is often argued as a way to decrease levels of violence. Unfortunately, punishing law-abiding citizens for the acts committed by criminals is not the just way forward, as it doesn't account for how violence and aggression are inseparable from the human condition. The factors surrounding gun violence, in particular, are the subject of debate between most of the social sciences, and even biologists attribute a significant genetic component to violence.
Human-on-human violence is as old as time, as historians have found evidence of ancient murder victims through bone analysis. Even in prehistory, humans were a threat to each other, causing societies to develop rules to stem crimes, as seen in the code of Hammurabi and later the Law of Moses centuries before the development of firearms.
In the US, the Second Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms as a necessity to defend themselves from violence. Still, there have been regulations passed for decades, and even today. Gun control advocates pressure politicians to increase regulations as a solution to prevent events like gun violence or mass shootings, even if these events are statistically very rare, according to the CDC.
In fact, looking at statistics and the coverage of them by the media shows a clear bias to show violence as a prominent cause of death even if more people die of car accidents or heart conditions. In this sense, the US, even with the ease of access to guns, is less violent and has a lower murder rate than countries with stricter gun control laws like Venezuela. The point is obvious: for every gun or deadly weapon to function, it requires human interaction.
The unintelligent argument that 'guns don't kill people—people kill people' should be forever put to rest. The fact is guns do kill people. Pause and consider the idiocy of a political tyrant deploying a nuclear bomb to destroy a nation, then claiming, 'nukes don't kill people, people kill people.' It would be utterly clear this leader was obstructing his direct role in the murder of innocent lives through the means of a deadly weapon.
While it's true guns don't kill people spontaneously, guns have resulted in many mass shootings the world over. A gun is a very efficient machine that makes killing much easier, especially from a distance, unlike a knife. If there is no gun availability, there would be no killing of this sort.
Recent US data reveal that it has a gun death rate of 13.6 per 100,000—the highest among industrialized nations. The country also has the highest gun ownership rate—89 guns per 100 people. In 2020 alone, there were 19,384 gun-related homicides in the US, or about 53 people killed every day by a firearm. Contrast this to Canada, where there were only 52 gun-related deaths in the entire year, Singapore (less than 20), Uk (146), Portugal 142, and 48 in Japan.
Statistically, one is more likely to use a gun than non-lethal options when confronted with criminals. And like everything else, the more guns you have, the more citizens will use them. The critical difference is that there is no effective gun control in the US. Guns are manufactured to kill and cause harm. It is about time to have more rigid gun control policies in America. To not do so is to expect more gun violence.