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Over Labor Day weekend, the country was once again rocked by a nutcase mass shooter in Odessa, TX who killed at least seven and wounded 22. In Chicago alone, nine were killed and 46 wounded. reports that over the Labor Day weekend across the U.S. at least 145 people were fatally shot and 302 wounded by gunfire.

What is going on in this country? Are Americans so gun-crazed and armed to the teeth that anyone at any time is going to pull out a gun and shoot someone? It surely seems that way. There are more shootings. But are there more guns?


Actually, no.


According to Statista, the percentage of U.S. households owning a gun has stayed remarkably consistent at 40-ish percent from 1972 to 2018. The highest was 1990 at 47 percent and the lowest was 2013 at 39 percent.


Statistic on gun ownership in the United States


But there are some other statistics worth noting. While the percentage of households owning at least one firearm is consistent, those who do have guns have more of them.

A 2016 survey showed that just three percent of the population owned half of all the guns in the U.S., an average of 17 guns each. That’s quite a collection. So, are they all ticking time bombs waiting to go off?


Well, this statistic also requires some perspective. Let’s say the U.S. population is 370 million. Three percent of that would be 11 million people.


In 2018, there were approximately 40,000 gun homicides in the country. Even if it was just the gun nuts who committed all those homicides, that’s still less than half a percent of the total gun nuts statistically.

To drill down further, 60 percent of gun homicides are actually suicides – which is an alarming statistic that sadly gets little press. Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the country.

The New York Times also reports “Among other public health problems, drug overdose deaths have also been surging, a trend that continued in 2017. About 70,000 people died from drug overdoses last year — almost double the number that died from guns, the health statistics center reported.”


Yes, some sectors of our population are collecting more guns, but the number of households in the U.S. with firearms is not off the charts.


Suicide is off the charts. Drug overdoses are off the charts. It would seem these issues might benefit from the same level of attention that guns receive, since a larger percentage of our population is being affected.

But these deaths individually aren’t dramatic or “noteworthy.”  They can’t be used as a cudgel against political opponents. They barely warrant a mention on the news.


What makes a person pick up a firearm and decide to shoot up random strangers? Or their family? Or themselves? It’s the underlying cause, the cultural breakdown, the societal malaise that leaves people unconnected, alone, unmoored and helpless.

We need to fix this at the most granular level — with our families, our friends, our community and our faith.


Where are the activists for that?




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