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10 Crazy Facts About Guns In The Usa

by Gregory Myers
fact checked by Jamie Frater

In America, The Second Amendment of the Constitution gives people the right to keep and bear arms, and it is a right many consider completely sacred. Even those who feel that more restrictions are necessary would likely consider you on the fringe for suggesting that all firearms should be banned entirely, and might even still own one for self defense. In fact, due to the extreme ease of access in America, US citizens own roughly 40% of all guns in the world, and have deeply ingrained the idea into the fabric of their culture. For these reasons, they have become known as “gun crazy” in many other parts of the world.

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Many people in the United States own a gun for home safety reasons, but statistics don’t really bear this out as being valid. Studies have shown that in a typical scenario many people don’t even get their gun ready in time, and when they do they have to fire as soon as the intruder is in their field of view to have a good chance. As the intruder has not yet committed a violent crime, many people would be unwilling to kill so quickly. Statistics also show that in 50% of these cases against an unarmed intruder the homeowners self defense weapon ends up used against them.

The reason for this is all about gun safety and gun storage. Unless you are actively searching for an intruder you are not going to be walking around your home with a loaded gun on your hip ready to go, especially if you have children or pets. For safety reasons most people keep their guns locked somewhere, and don’t keep ammo in it when not in use. This means that even if you have your gun in a convenient place you still have to unlock and get it out, get it loaded, and be ready in time — all while potentially nervous.[1]

9 Guns In America May Be A Problem, But Mental Health Is Also A Factor

One side of the debate will tell you that no gun control laws will help and that it is all about mental health. The other side will say that mental health diseases don’t make you go shoot people, and that we shouldn’t jump to “they are crazy” when someone goes on a mass shooting spree. This makes it a false choice where you are supposed to pick from only one of the two, when they can easily both be part of a complex problem.

The truth is that more gun control laws will almost certainly make it harder for potential killers to get more deadly weapons, which would save lives. However, we must also accept that mental health is a factor. We understand people don’t want all mentally ill people to be lumped in as violent, but there is nothing sane about going out and shooting a bunch of people for no real reason.[2]

8 The Definition Of What An “Assault Weapon” Is Really Depends On Who You Ask

Shootings of various sorts have happened a lot in the United States of America over the last few decades, and they have become more of a problem over the years. Now, one of the things blamed most for mass shootings is the ease at which many young men are getting these so-called “assault weapons”. The reason many people are concerned is because what many consider an assault weapon has at least semi-automatic fire, which makes it way easier to kill a crowd of people.

Some people object to the assault weapon terminology entirely, saying it is gun control propaganda. That being said, many people do agree on the idea of an assault weapon, but they don’t agree on what it is. Some argue that assault weapons are anything with a semi-automatic fire mode that is capable of carrying a lot of ammo, or being fed by a bump stock or other extended magazine to keep killing and killing. Others argue what they feel is a more pure definition, that a gun requires select fire mode, and the ability to switch from semi-automatic to full automatic, before it can be called an assault weapon.[3]

7 Far Too Many People Die In The USA Every Year From Accidental Gun Injuries

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Some people feel that the most important thing being ignored when it comes to gun control is not about background checks, but mandatory training similar to owning a car. Those who advocate for this type of regulation are bothered by all the people who die in the United States every year from completely preventable gun accidents. While it is not the same number every year, it usually comes close to 1000 deaths, which for perspective is somewhere in the range of about 2.5 deaths per day.

Some people will argue that this is only about 3% of gun deaths in the United States every year and therefore not a big deal — certainly not something worth making it harder to get a firearm over. Others argue that with some very simple training, that would not be a very serious infringement on anyone’s rights, we could bring the number down to almost zero. These accidents often involve a gun going off when not expected, or being mishandled by a child or animal. If firearms were stored and locked properly, these incidents would not occur.[4]

6 Silencers Aren’t Even A Real Thing, Suppressors Are, Though

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One of the most common tropes in movies is the assassin in the dark taking someone out with a silenced handgun. The weapon is so quiet that you can hardly hear anything at all, and most of us assume that tiny sound is basically auditory feedback for those watching the movie. Unfortunately, it turns out that silencer is kind of a misnomer, as they don’t really silence guns at all, they only bring the sound down to tolerable levels. For this reason, they are often referred to as suppressors

The problem is that an incredible amount of energy is being forced through a tiny tube so you can only bring the sound down so much even with a huge attachment. In popular American movies you will often see a silenced pistol used for a sneaky kill, but in real life, they are really just used to protect the ears of the user — stealth is not expected.[5]

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5 The 2nd Amendment Does Not Say The Government Cannot Have Reasonable Restrictions

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is probably the most controversial paragraph in the modern history of man. Arguments about how it should be interpreted are incredibly contentious and friendships have been lost over the issue, as many people feel it truly is a matter of life and death. There are purists who argue that the right to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed at all so therefore no restrictions on gun ownership are constitutional.

However, many on the other side of the debate feel The Second Amendment does not bar the government from creating reasonable restrictions — an opinion which was backed up by right leaning Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. This leaves the main question of how many restrictions are too many, and what restrictions go beyond the limits and actually infringe on citizens’ right to keep and bear arms.[6]

4 Trying To Accurately Fire With Two Guns In Two Directions Is Basically Impossible

Despite being a country that should know guns well, some of the favorite tropes in popular American action movies show firearms in a really unrealistic way. For example, when the heroes are going in for the big shootout they will often bring two handguns and shoot both at once. This was widely popularized in the Matrix Franchise, and many movies have used it for dramatic effect, but the whole idea is really kind of silly. For starters, trying to reload when you are using two handguns is so impossible that Trinity and Neo don’t even bother, they just toss the old guns on the floor when they run out of ammo and grab more ready to go from their jackets.

Worse yet is any chance of them having good aim, even if they do have infinite loaded weapons to give them infinite, ready to go ammo. The problem is that you really cannot accurately shoot in more than one direction at once, due to how human eyesight works — we cannot properly look at two different things in two directions at the same time. Because of this limitation, shooting two handguns in two directions at the same time would be inaccurate and probably just waste a lot of ammo.[7]

3 There Is A Good Reason American Police Don’t Shoot For The Legs/Arms

Many outside the United States who see all the police involved shooting deaths are both alarmed and also confused. They notice that in a lot of American police videos, it seems the police are not even trying to hit people in less fatal spots like the arms or legs, and almost always seem to shoot center mass. In most other countries police are trained to go for non-fatal shots when possible, so this definitely has left non-Americans with a lot of questions. Unfortunately, this is actually by design, because American police forces are worried about the safety of their officers.

The reason why American police are trained to go for shots that are much more likely to be fatal, is because so many Americans possess a firearm of some kind. In situations involving firearms you often have very little to no time to react, and even a shot to the leg or arm may not disable them enough to stop them from shooting back. On the other hand, in countries where guns are rare, the police can disable someone charging them with a knife with a nice shot to the leg.[8]

2 Statistics About Black On Black Gun Crime Are Often Very Misleading

Some people like to bring up black on black gun crime in order to somehow invalidate the need for more restrictions on guns in the USA. Now, some statistics do back this up on paper, but they don’t show the whole picture. Looking at statistics without understanding the context can lead to the wrong conclusions being drawn, and statistics can be used for manipulative purposes to begin with. As the saying goes, statistics are like a bikini: what they reveal is suggestive, what they conceal is vital.

The statistics may show a lot of black on black gun crime, but what they don’t show without looking more closely is that these are segregated areas that are almost entirely black and have high crime due to poverty. The reason is not some animosity or tribal mentality black people have toward those who look like them, but simply that poorer areas are more likely to have violent crime, especially those with higher population densities.[9]

1 Despite Mass Shootings, Violent Gun Deaths Are Steadily Decreasing Over Time

Mass shootings are obviously a very controversial and loaded subject, and most people have a strong opinion about them. These shootings happen relatively often in the USA, and many people feel that in general, the situation is simply out of control. However, while we are not saying this means that more gun control restrictions are unnecessary or a bad idea, the fact is that research actually shows, despite the mass shootings, that overall gun homicides have remained mostly flat since the 2000’s. In fact, from 1993 to 2000, a .7% drop was seen in overall gun homicides.

Since 2000, while mass shootings have ticked upward, overall gun homicides have remained steady at around 11,000 to 12,000 a year. More concerning is that while the USA hasn’t seen an increase in homicides from gun injuries, we have seen an increase in suicides by firearm — although we haven’t seen an increase in overall suicides. The best way to interpret these statistics is that those who would tend to do violence with guns are becoming slightly more likely to do it in one burst, and those who want to kill themselves are more likely to do so with a handgun, but gun availability is not moving the needle on overall numbers.[10]

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fact checked by Jamie Frater