Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

Mass Shootings: Why Do They Happen, And What Should We Do To Prevent Them?

by Countable | 2.15.18

What’s the story?

The mass shooting at a Florida high school on Wednesday was the 18th already in 2018. The current regularity of mass shootings in American life is undeniable. It begs the question: why are mass shootings so commonplace in the United States, and what is the most effective way, therefore, to prevent them?

Professor Adam Lankford at the University of Alabama conducted a study that attempted to answer the first question. The New York Times outlined it in depth.

Common reasons cited for the frequency of mass shootings in the U.S. compared to other countries include: lack of adequate mental health care, racial divisions which have frayed the bonds of society, and the extent to which violence is embedded in U.S. culture. Think Wild West mentality and the prevalence of violent video games and movies for that last one.

The authors argue that none of those reasons hold up when you compare the U.S. to other countries. The same factors exist, and yet mass shootings are an uncommon or non-existent occurence.

So, what do the authors say sets the U.S. apart? The number and types of guns available and the relative ease of securing them.

Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population and own 42 percent of the world’s guns. From 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American.

This reality, they say, grows out of an idea that is almost exclusive to the U.S.-- that people have an inherent right to own guns. Other countries with high levels of gun ownership, like Switzerland, approach gun ownership as an earned privilege, not a right, and more strictly regulate gun licensing, sales and types of guns available.

What do you think?

Do you agree with the assessment of the Lankford study or not? What do you think is the cause of the frequency of mass shootings in the U.S., and given the cause, what do you think we can or should do to prevent them?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Associated Press via Twitter )

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(168)
  • MsMegan
    02/15/2018
    ···

    Too many guns. Too many high-powered firearms. Too much NRA money in Congress. Too little interest in human lives. Too little access to adequate interventions for disturbed individuals.Too many politicians more interested in keeping their seats than.serving the American people. We have a lot of work to do.

    Like (228)
    Follow
    Share
  • David
    02/15/2018
    ···

    What laws would stop a killer from murdering? The laws that they have in California? Chicago? Baltimore? New York? France? Turkey? Mexico? Gun-free zones? Really? Gun control disarms the law-abiding and only the law-abiding — by definition!

    Like (98)
    Follow
    Share
  • OlderNWiser
    02/15/2018
    ···

    The NRA is essentially ruining our country. Hunters and people protecting their homes definitively do not need assault weapons that permeate our entire country. The constitutional right to protect our country by militia has been distorted to allow mass murders long enough. The majority of mentally ill people do not commit crimes. They are, themselves, assaulted and murdered more often. But, we do need more mental health treatment readily available for the very few who do. Countries without rampant gun ownership don’t have frequent mass murders. Empty words do nothing to restore needlessly lost lives. Gun control now!

    Like (70)
    Follow
    Share
  • Kelly
    02/15/2018
    ···

    If you want a wonderful example of what can be done in our country to reduce gun violence you need look no further than Connecticut after Sandyhook. The laws that state enacted has decreased their murders remarkably. We have the answers. Our politicians don’t have the courage. What needs to be done specifically, First the only guns anyone needs is a pistol and rifle for hunting. Assault weapons need to be banned. Bump stocks need to be banned. Buy guns back. There must be universal background checks. Then the person should have to have a sign off from their local law-enforcement, the people that know them best, before they can have that firearm. And large magazines need to be banned. All guns need to be registered in every state in the union. Any congressman or senator who takes money from the NRA should be banned from voting on any legislation on gun control. Reverse trumps order saying mentally ill people have a right to have guns. And we must also remember that people don’t just “snap”.People aren’t born evil. Circumstances in their Young life’s create all kinds of emotional problems and even prevent the brain from developing properly if exposed to too much trauma. Violent people came from violence or perhaps frontal lobe brain damage which causes impulse control. Having spent over 30 years working with mental health providers, law-enforcement providers schools, and being a social worker in protective services also working in domestic violence, there are reasons why people act this way. We are not a nation that Addresses bullying effectively. Come on Melania do your job! that was your issue… (just like your husband all talk no action) Get your husband off of Twitter if you want anybody to think that you are credible about bullying prevention. When these things happen the time to talk about them is now. And we know the facts and the statistics. It’s been studied for 40 years plus. No other country has as many guns as we do. No other country as violence like we do. Congress forbids the CDC to research the effects of violence on citizens and children and how it affects brain development. The issue is congress also being complicit in these murders by taking NRA money and being selfish, wanting to keep their seat over wanting to save lives. That to me is more evil than the shooter.

    Like (53)
    Follow
    Share
  • Chickie
    02/15/2018
    ···

    #45 and the GOP will say it’s too soon to start the much needed ACTION on gun control. If not, when? When 17 more lives are taken by by semi-automatic weapons? Time to reverse the executive order of allowing those with mental illness to own a gun. Time to make it a crime to own a semi-automatic guns. Time to forbid representatives to receive money or gifts from the NRA and their lobbyists. A teenager at the high school was quoted as saying, “We should never get used to this”. The time to act is now! #enoughisenough

    Like (43)
    Follow
    Share
  • BeStrong
    02/15/2018
    ···

    The US has 300,000,000 owner registered guns. 8,000,000 of these are ARs. Why are we so afraid? How did this culture of fear infect our national identity? Why do we embrace fear and forget our humanity? We will not stand long, divided...and we cannot continue to let our children pay the price for us. We must find our humanity and be the change. Yesterday 17 children paid the price for our fear. Lead the conversation towards change. #Rise

    Like (38)
    Follow
    Share
  • Eric
    02/15/2018
    ···

    Stop being DISTRACTED!! THIS IS NOT ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS! Other countries have mental illness. Other countries have violence. Other countries have anger. Other countries do not have mass shootings. The only difference is we have guns! The issue is our gun culture! We have a gun fetish! We think that guns solve problems. We think that guns offer protection. We think that guns are "just tools". GUNS ARE TOOLS DESIGNED TO KILL AS MANY AS POSSIBLE, QUICKLY AND EASILY FROM A DISTANCE ! Stop valuing our gun fetish above the safety of our children. Shooters don't become shooters because of mental illness. Shooters become shooters because our culture actively teaches them that guns are problem solving tools. We write our history to glorify shooting. Our "heroes" in our history books and our favorite fictions always SHOOT the bad guy in the end. Our shooters are using the tools we allow them to have, to solve the problems that they have, in the way we have taught them to solve problems.

    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
  • Abbi
    02/16/2018
    ···

    To everyone who thinks that guns don't kill people, stop, just fucking stop. We played it your way for far too long. No more ar15s! No more fucking crazy violent people with guns! No more parents that have to plan funerals instead of college trips! Fucking no more! Shut up about your right to bear arms and admit that a crazy person with a history of violence should NOT have a legal gun! Hell don't even trust them with a damn pea shooter! If you aren't crazy, and are responsible then keep your damn gun but keep them out of the hands of people like Adam Lanza! #fuckyourthoughtsandprayers

    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
  • BeStrong
    02/16/2018
    ···

    Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence statistics. PUBLIC SUPPORT for: Bar sales to all violent criminals. 85% Assault weapons ban 67% Semiautomatic gun ban 62% High-capacity magazine ban 62% Universal checks for gun buyers 89% Universal checks for ammo buyers. 73% Bar sales to people deemed dangerous by mental health provider 88% Bar sales to convicted stalkers 85% Require gun licenses 79% Ammo purchase limit 64% Centralized record of gun sales 82% Report lost or stolen guns 88% 3-day waiting period 78% Gun purchase limit 68% Workplace weapons ban 59% School weapons ban 66% Guns that microstamp bullets. 68% Require gun safes 75% Require safety training 81% Fingerprint gun owners 74%

    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
  • Sky
    02/15/2018
    ···

    Enough empty words and platitudes from Trump and the Republicans. Gun control now!

    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
  • Luke
    02/15/2018
    ···

    What is an AR-15 used for? To kill people, plain and simple it is not a hunting weapon or a personal defensive firearm, it is by all intents and purposes a killing machine. Those weapons have no place among the general population but have been used to innocents. The blood isn’t on Nikolas Cruz’s hands, it’s is on the hands of our lawmakers, our Congress, and all of the political leaders in our country. Thoughts and prayers are useless, absolutely useless, baseless and empty; And they will not prevent or deter something like this from happening again. We need stronger gun laws to at the very least, take killing machines away from the general population.

    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
  • Donna
    02/15/2018
    ···

    Gun control is about public safety. It is about a much-needed cultural change in this country regarding the RESPONSIBILITY every gun owner has to use their weapons only for the originally-intended purpose. The 2nd Amendment that all radical gun enthusiasts scream about DOES NOT INFER OR GUARANTEE A RIGHT FOR ANY CIVILIAN IN OUR SOCIETY TO OWN A MILITARY-GRADE ASSAULT WEAPON. Guns do kill people - just ask the parents of the students from Parkland or Sandy Hook or VA Tech or Columbine. The perpetrators would most certainly not been stopped by the dreaded 'universal background check' but the carnage would have been reduced if they did not have access to high-powered, high-capacity military-grade weapons to carry out their evil plans. I find it hypocritical that those insisting the government has no right to tell them what guns they can own and carry are the same ones that profess to be pro-life and pro-capital punishment. Only when it is convenient is government control and interference welcomed.

    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
  • singinghawk926
    02/18/2018
    ···

    I cannot possibly improve on what Laura has said, so I am copying and pasting instead of writing my own. “I’m the odd one out in a family of hunters and gun owners. Luckily, responsible ones. Even as gun enthusiasts they support a ban on ARs, strict background checks and gun registration. They also support getting Congress out of the pocket of the NRA through meaningful campaign finance reform and lobbying restrictions. And they consider the NRA’s interpretation of the second amendment that there should be virtually no restrictions or limitations on gun ownership perverse. I have to say I’m proud of them, but also that I don’t believe that they are all that unique. There are many decent, responsible gun owners who are aware of the problem and want a sensible solution just like the rest of us. My point here is we need to be careful about demonizing all gun owners. Some of them can be our strongest allies. So where should we focus? I believe it starts with the too powerful NRA and the weak Congress they control. The NRA may have begun as simply an advocacy group for hunters, but it now clearly meets the definition of a terrorist organization. The blood of countless innocent citizens is on their hands. They are a propaganda machine who has convinced the common man both to be very afraid of a threat that doesn’t exist and that they are their advocate and only protection. In reality, the NRA is a mouthpiece bought and paid for by an unethical profiteering gun industry who places profits over the lives of the innocent. And the majority of Congress are their spineless goons who value retaining their positions, power and financial gain over doing right by the people they are supposed to represent and protect. It’s sickening. We all know what the common sense answers to this crisis are. We just need a Congress that is willing to get off their duffs and do something. The absolute only reason there should not be a veto proof majority of legislators willing to support solid, sensible gun legislation is the deep pockets of the villainous NRA and the sway they hold not only over Congress but also selfish, weak-minded people who have drank their poison kool-aid who Congress members believe will vote them out if they stand up to this insanity. So, if your Congressperson take a dime from the NRA contact them and insist they take a public pledge to no longer do so. If they are unwilling to do so vote their pathetic butts out regardless of their party affiliation. No exceptions. In the meantime, let’s follow the example of West Virginian Lissa Lucas and publicly call out who our lawmakers are taking contributions from and the votes those contributions are purchasing. I stand with the brave and eloquent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Emily Gonzalez in calling BS. We all should. Congress, you most of all. End this insanity and senseless, tragic loss of life. Please, at least try!”👍👍❤️❤️

    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
  • Wendy
    02/15/2018
    ···

    Although I would love to go the way of Australia and get rid of as many guns as possible, I know that there are people in the US that love their guns. Please, for the sake of our children let’s get some common sense gun laws. Ban assault weapons, you don’t need them to hunt. Background checks. No guns for domestic abusers or people with mental illness. And for gods sakes let’s get more help for the mentally ill, not cut funding.

    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
  • William
    02/15/2018
    ···

    We need strict gun control. Universal background checks and the banning of military style weapons would be a good start. We’re the only developed country with these frequent mass shootings and it’s not a coincidence we have the most lax gun laws.

    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
  • Azrael
    02/15/2018
    ···

    We know why they happen We know how to stop them Every parent should be out on the streets everyday at the NRA headquarters There should be billboards and scrolling screens on our TVs giving the names of government officials and the amounts given to them by the NRA No one needs an AR15 NO ONE You want to shoot big guns enlist in our armed forces We need more people in all branches of the military I believe in all our rights, but I believe our children come first

    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
  • Danielle
    02/15/2018
    ···

    It’s time to adequately fund mental health care and to pass common sense gun control legislation. Break the hold of the NRA on our government.

    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
  • Regis
    02/15/2018
    ···

    Of course the easy and cookie cutter answer is more gun control. How has gun control worked in Chicago, California, Mexico where gun ownership by the public is banned yet has the highest murder rate than any other place. There are numerous gun control laws already in place. I’m sure more gun control laws will work as well as the war on drugs and anti-drug laws have. Let’s be serious and realistic before just repeating what everyone else including the media says. If someone wants to get their hands on a gun, just as with drugs, they will. The real issue here is mental health and no one doing anything regardless of all the red flags these individuals raise.

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
  • Pru
    02/16/2018
    ···

    Vote the NRA out!!

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
  • Countryfirst
    02/15/2018
    ···

    At some point, the sane people will take control and the money grubbing MURDERING NRA supporters will be stopped! How many children have to be murdered before #45 and the murdering republicans will even talk about gun control...people burn up the phone lines to Congress and the Senate..make them act..our children are being MURDERED..THE NRA RADICALS ARE MURDERERS!!!! CONGRESS AND SENATE ARE MURDERERS AND #45 IS A MONEY GRUBBING NRA SUPPORTING DICTATOR!!

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share