In the wake of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College, everyone from President Obama to the murderer’s father called for stricter “control” over the purchase, ownership and carrying of guns. The United States, which has the highest per capita gun ownership in the world, has a high homicide rate in general; however, calls for “gun control” generally increase following well-publicized “mass shooting” events. These mass shootings, defined as the killing of at least four people with a firearm, have received enormous attention in the media, especially when they occur at schools.
In this progressive and popular media narrative, high rates of “unregulated” gun ownership leads to a seemingly ever more violent America, where “assault weapons” are used regularly to kill with impunity. Gun owners — and their defenders — are constantly demonized and criticized in the media. A New York publication went so far as to publish lists of names and addresses of gun permit owners online.
The truth about our violent culture is far more inconvenient than many of us care to admit. It’s almost impossible to identify one specific reason for America’s high homicide rate. Sure, access to weaponry is one, but so is mental health, media sensationalism, gang and drug violence, economic disparities, cultural factors and the lack of a police state to strictly control the population. America’s violent crime rate, though still high, has fallen significantly since the mid-1990s. This fact, among others, runs counter to the anti-gun narrative.