Strong Gun Laws Reduce Gun Deaths




31,347 people are killed with firearms each year in the US. 


The US has the highest rate of childhood homicide, suicide and firearm-related death among industrialized countries.


Violence in the US is on the decline.


In 2010, violent crime rates hit a low not seen since 1972.


Ownership of guns in the US is at an all-time low.


No statistical evidence exists between gun deaths and mental illness or stress levels.


Homicide levels can be affected by sudden pronounced changes in the economy.


More poverty, more gun violence.


More education, less gun violence.


A viscous cycle connects firearm availability and higher homicide levels.


States with stricter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths.


Countries with more gun violence than the US are Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, South Africa, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Russia, The Phillipines and Thailand.


Countries with less gun violence than the US are Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, and Great Britain.


In Sweden, fully automatic weapons are only issued under special circumstances, to elite-level marksmen active extensively in a shooting club, and with the approval of Försvarsmakten, the Swedish Armed Forces.


The Japanese have the world’s fewest firearm-related deaths: 11 in 2008. An individual may only own a shotgun for hunting, skeet and trap and then only after a lengthy licensing process. Handguns cannot be owned by individuals. A prospective shotgun owner must attend class, pass a written test, shooting range test, shooting test, safety exam, mental exam, medical test, and background check.


Brady Campaign analysis finds that the 31 states with few or no gun laws export nine times the crime guns as the six states with the strongest gun laws. California was awarded 81 points in the Brady Campaign’s 100-point Scorecard because of the state’s universal background check system, retention of purchase records, limiting of handgun purchases to one a month, and assault clip ban.


Check out your state’s ranking. A four-star state has the strongest laws to combat gun trafficking, prevent the sale of guns without background checks, and reduce risks to children. California is the only state that qualified in 2011. New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Hawaii are three-star states.


Here are some resources for talking to your children about the Colorado shootings.


And, check out Bang! Bang!, our classic article on children and gun play.


How are you making sense of what happened in Aurora, Colorado? How are you talking to your children about it, if you are?


Peggy O’Mara  (101 Posts)Peggy O’Mara founded in 1995 and is currently its editor-in chief. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has lectured and conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League International, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four.


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3 thoughts on “Strong Gun Laws Reduce Gun Deaths”

  1. I disagree strongly with this article. First of all, the author doesn’t make the link between stronger gun laws actually reducing gun deaths, and for every country she cites as having less violence with tougher gun laws, there are equal examples of the oposite. The soviet union, Germant, China, Cambodia, Guatemala and Uganda are all places that have enacted strict gun control and as a result, over 56 million people have died in those countries alone in the last century (many at the hands of the government) because they couldn’t defend themselves.

    I’d like to point out that the shooting occurred in an area where guns were not allowed anyway, so all law-abiding citizens were unable to defend themselves, as even if they were legally permitted to carry a gun, they would not have had them. Last time I checked, criminals don’t always follow the laws (thus the name) so stricter gun laws just take guns from honest citizens and give the state more power. I wonder how different the outcome would have been had someone at the theatre been carrying a weapon and been able to disarm the shooter before he killed and injured all those people….

  2. I also disagree with this article. One of the people that died had a valid conceal carry card. His friends said they have never seen him anywhere without his gun, but this night, possibly the only time he has not had it he needed it, after the first shot was fired he could have fought back and saved 11 people from having to die for nothing. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. In order to own a gun you have to pass a background check. Now yes there are lots of people who own guns that have either stolen them or have found a way around the background check and they should not own any guns, but stricter gun laws will not deter those people from getting guns. We have a right to own guns. I have a right to carry my gun with me anytime I want, with a few exceptions like federal buildings and schools. I have taken the time to go to gun classes, take my test and I have a conceal carry card, as does my husband and my brother and I can guarantee you that if I had been at the theater that night at least one of us, if not all of us would have been locked and loaded and this entire fiasco could have been stopped long before 12 lives were taken and 58 more were damaged. The gunman could have possibly killed some people, but I would rather die trying to protect myself, my family and my fellow Americans than sit back and let a crazy person ruin my life.

  3. Timely, and well-received article. It has become so common to throw down the ill-thought out comment that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, that people don’t even realise how ridiculous that sounds, and what little sense a statement like that makes.

    Yes, guns, do in fact, kill people. And, more stringent gun-control, much like most countries in the world, would dramatically reduce the kind of violence that we are almost becoming accustomed to.

    This is a national emergency.

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