It isn’t easy to decide how to discuss a situation like the one in Newtown, but I thought I’d take this gun-focused moment to summarize some firearm facts and move on from there.
In the wake of a mass shooting like the one we saw last week (although really no two mass shootings are the same) the traditional “two-sides” of the gun debate in this country come out with the well-known talking points. Pro-gun advocates have said that what would prevent shootings like this would be to arm more Americans. Gun control supporters have advocated a ban on assault weapons like the one used in Friday’s shootings.
Here are some quick facts:
- The rifle used Friday, the AR-15, is, according to the New York Times, the “most popular rifle in America,” the same style of rifle used in a shooting at an Oregon shopping mall, and the shooting at an Aurora, CO, movie theater in July.
- AR-15s have “high capacity magazines, which feed 20 or 30 rounds at a fast pace,” and range in price from only $600 to $2,000.
- According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 32,000 gun-related deaths last year, nearly 20,000 of which were suicides.
- A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that “the presence of a gun in the home was associated with a nearly fivefold risk of suicide … and an almost threefold risk of homicide.“
- A study published in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ concluded that in the United States, “Guns are used to threaten and intimidate far more often than they are used in self defense” and that “most self reported self defense gun uses may well be illegal and against the interests of society.”