The Platform


The U.S. has an appalling number of mass shootings a year compared to other industrialized nations.

While mass shootings have happened for countless years, gun technologies have made the killings more deadly. In the United States, gun violence has reached an extent where there have been 27 school shootings so far this year.

According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, the United States is on course to match or surpass its worst year on record for the number of mass shootings. As of June 5, there have been at least 246 mass shootings. Several more have taken place since, including mass shootings during the July 4th celebrations. There have been 27 school shootings this year alone.

The Second Amendment allows Americans to own firearms with few restrictions. However, this has led to multiple debates about how there should be strict procedures to own a firearm in the United States. This discourse can be backed by studies conducted by various think tanks. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the state that performed the best on gun safety was Hawaii which had the least overall rate of gun violence with just 3.4 deaths per 1,000 persons. Mississippi, the state that performed the worst, had 28.6 deaths per 1,000.

Among developed countries, no other country has nearly as many violent firearm deaths as the U.S. The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, has 46 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns.

Canada, America’s neighbor to the north, also has relatively high gun ownership but fewer shootings. Shortly after the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989, when a student, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, killed more than fourteen women and injured another ten, compelled the government to impose stricter gun laws. The recent mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas prompted the Justin Trudeau government to revisit stricter gun measures.

“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada,” Trudeau said while enacting new regulations to ban the use, sale, and import of more than 1,500 models of firearms and their components.

Advocates for gun control applauded the changes but wished for more. They suggest that to stop the importation of guns from the United States, Canada should impose handgun limitations, a mandatory firearm buyback program, and tighter border controls which also highlight another aspect of America’s gun problem: illegal trafficking of small arms and ammunition.

Another example is Switzerland, where all people who have served in the military can keep guns in their homes. For private gun ownership, the person is supposed to be above the age of 18. People who want to acquire guns for self-defense also need a license and have to train and pass an exam. If the government finds danger of abuse or improper handling or maintenance of a personal weapon, it can be confiscated with the possibility of further punishment, including fines and imprisonment.

Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership among Western nations, with about 28 firearms per 100 residents. The number of gun deaths there is likewise quite high (2.84 per 100,000 people). However, only a small percentage of these fatalities—0.17 per 100,000—is due to homicide, and there have only been two mass shootings in the previous 20 years. In comparison, the United States records 4.5 gun killings for every 100,000 residents each year in addition to several major shootings.

The restrictions in Switzerland demonstrate that a nation can have a culture that is generally more open to the notion of gun ownership while still keeping some restrictions that reduce access to firearms for potentially dangerous individuals and enhance public safety.

Today, many Americans live in fear of sudden, abrupt loss of life but they shouldn’t be forced to. Many countries outside of the United States have enabled private citizens the possibility of owning a firearm but in a responsible manner. While the conservative U.S. Supreme Court has begun dismantling existing gun laws in the country, there is still a lot of room for introspection and state executives can still take a call on their state regimes to be robust, refined, and strong when it comes to the procurement of ammunition, taking references from other countries’ flexible yet rigid gun laws while tackling the menace of countless shootings and innocent deaths.

Yash Bhatnagar is an undergraduate law student at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, India. Yash holds an interest in intellectual property law, cyber security, data protection, and human rights.

Yashasvi Yadav is an undergraduate law student at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, India. Yashasvi holds an interest in human rights law and international law.