Gun Violence, “What’s Changed?

In the wake of recent mass shootings there are renewed calls for improvements in gun regulations. Opponents have often taken to pointing out that people in the United States have always had guns and the proportion of gun ownership has remained relatively constant. “Guns haven’t changed, our permissive society, poor parenting and violence in entertainment and video games have changed. These are the real causes of increased gun crimes.

Two points are raised by this argument. First, sure parenting and entertainment have changed. Let’s do what we can to improve this problem. We must remember that the Amendment BEFORE their treasured 2nd Amendment protects makers of entertainment and video games from most government regulation. Changes in this realm will be mostly by voluntary means such as boycott, advocacy and education.

Second, as is often the case with treasured narratives, this one ignores MANY changes not so convenient for the views of most “conservatives:”

  • The social safety net, including family connections, has been incredibly frayed;
  • Lack of stability due to economic conditions has increased tremendously;
  • Suburban development, responding to mobility and other factors, including market forces have led to social isolation;
  • Insecurity in many realms–from jobs to healthcare to housing costs.

Popularity of Semiautomstic weapons

One other change should not be overlooked: the popularity of semiautomatic firearms, especially rifles in recent years.

While people may be more prone to assault for emotional or mental health reasons due to a number of factors, the popularity and easy access to semiautomatic weapons, especially rifles seems to have increased the volume of death and injury from the attacks.

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