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The school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 children dead along with two adults has again sparked a national debate about gun culture in the United States. Gun-related violence has become an epidemic in the United States. A week after the shooting in Uvalde, another mass shooting took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Due to U.S. gun culture, the United States now has more guns (close to or exceeding 400 million) in circulation than actual people, a number higher than Yemen. The trend of gun ownership has been growing in the United States. In 2011, it was 88 arms per 100 populations, which rose to 120 in 2018.

As the number increases, it also takes a toll on American lives. Between 1968 and 2021, 1.5 million people have died from gun-related injuries, a number higher than soldiers killed in every U.S. conflict since 1775. In 2020, 45,000 people died from homicide or suicide by firearm. The number is 25% higher than in 2015 and 43% higher than in 2010.

The public perception of gun ownership has also changed. According to a Gallup survey, 52% of Americans now believe in stricter gun laws. However, support for stricter gun laws is facing a downward trend compared to the last decade. Previously, it was 62%, which fell to 52% in 2021.

Even though there is no single definition, a mass shooting refers to incidents that involve four or more people. Mass shootings have become a recurring event in the United States with higher frequency. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, since 2009, the United States experienced 277 mass shootings, with 1,565 people shot and killed, and 1,000 people shot and wounded.

The frequency is also increasing. On Memorial Day alone, the U.S. witnessed 12 mass shootings, killing at least eight people and injuring 55 more. A week later, on 31st May, the Tulsa shooting took place. On 2nd June, police also arrested a teen for allegedly planning a mass shooting.

As mass shootings have increased every year, support for stricter gun laws is still more than 50%. The U.S. should impose more stringent rules and regulations on owning and possessing firearms. But it seems the U.S. is doing very little to curb incidents of mass shootings. It is time for the U.S. to address gun-related violence and save its social fabric before it’s too late. Such actions will also maintain coherence in its domestic and international policy.

Doreen Chowdhury is a Doctoral Researcher at University of Groningen. Her areas of interest are Comparative Politics, Globalization, South Asian Studies, and Migration Studies. Her works have appeared in The Geopolitics, Aequitas Review, Eurasia Review, and The Financial Express.