Gun violence has been such a huge problem all over the world that we’re now dealing with a full-blown pandemic. And we don’t take those words lightly in 2021. It’s taken a huge toll on society, and countless families have to cope with its aftermath.
So let’s take a look at what gun violence entails exactly, what kind of impact it has on the world, and what the best steps to prevent it are.
Explaining Gun Violence
The most basic definition of gun violence is that it’s a type of violence that someone commits using firearms. These can include guns, pistols, shotguns, machine guns, or assault rifles.
Now, this type of violence doesn’t necessarily have to be criminal because that would only encompass homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted suicide, or suicide. The type of criminal charges would depend on the jurisdiction.
On the other hand, non-criminal violence can include any unintentional or accidental injury that might or might not be fatal. But it’s considered non-criminal as long as there’s no criminal negligence.
Types of Violence Using Firearms
There are six types of gun violence that we can observe, and that make up the overall statistics. These include:
- Intentional homicide
- Domestic violence
- Assault and robbery
- Police brutality
- Unintentional homicide
In the US alone, suicide outnumbers homicide in a two to one ratio. With about 30,000 suicides annually, almost half of those are committed with a firearm. What’s more, there’s a huge link between owning a gun and keeping in the house with the number of suicides.
When we talk about homicide in the context of gun violence, we need to exclude deaths related to war conflicts, those committed in self-defense, or caused by negligence.
Instead, we’re only focusing on purposefully intending to cause serious injury or death. In 2009, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) issued a report stating that firearms were used in 60% of all homicides.
Similarly to suicide, the risk of someone experiencing domestic violence or in-home homicide is much higher when there’s a firearm in the house. Also, there’s a much bigger chance of a domestic dispute ending in a fatal injury.
Assault or Robbery
One really important statistic to note is that people use firearms four to six times more in a threatening capacity rather than means of protection.
The history of the United States police force is a pretty dark one, as it started out as a slave patrol. The jobs of these officers were to capture runaway slaves and stop them from seeking freedom. These patrols would later evolve into the police force.
Nowadays, especially in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, citizens are asking to end police brutality. One way to do that is by implementing some sort of gun reform.
What Causes Gun Violence?
According to the American Psychological Association, psychology can and should have significant input when it comes to prevention policies. But the first step to creating better policies starts with understanding the causes and reasons behind the violence.
Issues in Development
There are countless different protective factors that can make a person more or less prone to using firearms against themselves or others. So there’s really no one profile that can predict who exactly will use guns in violent acts.
That’s why the best way to determine whether or not someone is prone to gun violence is by looking at all the potential risk factors. These can include personal relationships with family or friends, the environments they developed in, like school. Also, a lot of the factors will depend on the type of community that the person grew up around during childhood and adolescence.
Putting that aside for a second, the number one telltale sign that someone might engage in gun violence is if they have a history of violent behavior. That’s why prevention efforts need to start from an early age. They can reduce the risk of firearms being even introduced into family and community conflicts.
Culture and Gender
Any potential anti-gun policy needs to address two specific facts:
- Why are males more likely to be involved in violence with firearms?
- Why doesn’t the vast majority of males perpetrate violence with firearms?
Some APA research suggests that to address the problem, the first step needs to be changing perceptions that are associated with masculinity. That alone could reduce the relevance of sexual violence and “crimes of passion.”
In order to do this, education needs to start at a young age. There need to be special programs that can be conducted in schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, clinics, and prisons. What’s more, the programs have to challenge the gender expectations that suggest men have to be tough, violent, and self-sufficient.
The Best Ways to Prevent Gun Violence
With gun crimes surging rapidly, taking the right preventive steps is more important now than it’s ever been. There are a couple of ways to go about it, starting with better licensing.
All countries should be able to set up some basic regulation systems on how private individuals can buy and own firearms. That would be the first step to prevent using firearms to abuse human rights.
Even if countries don’t have the right budgets or leadership to write up new regulations, they can take a page out of the UN’s book. They’ve already written international firearm guidelines that countries can incorporate into their laws.
Some of the basic standards of these guidelines should include:
- Banning the possession of firearms without a license
- Registering all firearms
- Unlicensed possession of firearms becomes a criminal offense
What’s more, to prevent illicit trade and firearm possession, countries should take proactive measures toward ensuring that all stocks of firearms are securely kept.
To Sum up
There is no one way to prevent and deter gun violence; Instead, it takes a collective effort to even make a change. The first step on that road is educating people, especially younger children about the dangers of firearms. Also, it takes teaching others the proper ways to resolve conflict, safely handle guns, and much more.
If you want to be the change you see in the EP world, you need to make sure that you’re educated on all things considering gun safety. Know how to handle emergency situations and active shooter drills.
For more helpful tips on safety and the EP industry, sign up for our newsletter.