By Nicholas Elden
On October 1, ten people at Umpqua Community College were killed in a mass shooting, adding to the 31 school shootings that have taken place in the United States since 2000. ABC News reports, “The rate of people killed by guns in the U.S. is 19. 5 times higher than similar high-income countries in the world.”
The Council on Foreign Relations reports that 88.8 out of 100 people in the U.S. own a firearm. The U.S. espouses a gun control policy unique from the rest of the world, where each state has individual laws about the sale and possession of weapons. According to the U.S. Constitution, each citizen has the right to bear arms, but in California there is no provision in state law that guarantees the right to bear arms. However, Utah does not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Julia Wyman, executive director of the States United to Prevent Gun Violence, writes, “President Obama’s use of the word ‘routine’ during his briefing on the mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon has haunted me.”
Obama had told press after the Umpqua shooting, “The way our society reacts to mass shootings has become far too routine.”
While the U.S. does have the highest gun ownership rate in the world, the U.S. is not the worst country statistically in terms of homicide by firearm. The Guardian reports that, according to a United Nations Office of Drug and Crime survey, “The U.S. does not have the worst firearm murder rate – that prize belongs to Honduras, El Salvador, and Jamaica. In fact, the U.S. is number 28, with a rate of 2.97 per 100,000 people.”
The line between freedom and safety is always blurred when it comes to international peacekeeping. Conflict is bound to happen among individuals and states, but the statistics and ease of purchasing firearms in the United States is clearly flawed. A 2007 report by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey indicates that about 35 to 50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns belongs to the United States.