Guns have always been a part of our lives. From their use in history for revolutions and wars to their current use for hunting, self-defence and protection, weapons and guns have had an acceptable role in the evolving world order. But unfortunately, guns nowadays, are having an alarming negative impact. Firearms are now increasingly used for more crimes, in fact a major tool to commit homicides. According to Wikipedia, a total of 250,227-gun related casualties were recorded in 2019 worldwide out of which Brazil, United States, Venezuela, Mexico, and India were the top five countries with the maximum gun related deaths in the world.

          The loosely controlled gun laws in The United States and their second amendment have together led to the rapid increase in gun violence in the country. From gang shootings to school shootings, the “Gun Violence Archive” reported 20,726-gun related deaths (excluding suicides) in the U.S. in the year 2021 alone. Out of these, 702 deaths were attributed to the 693 mass shootings. Both stats were higher than the data recorded from the preceding year. Moreover, twenty-seven school shootings have already taken place in the year 2022 so far, the latest being the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. This has taken the total tally of mass shootings in 2022 to a whopping 212. The three-day Memorial Day weekend has observed twelve mass shootings, averaging four shootings a day.

          Other than the mass shootings, gang culture is also a major contributor to the increased gun violence in the States. According to the official FBI website, there are 33,000 violent gangs and north of 1.4 million active gang members in the country as of 2011. These gangs are a major contributor to the total firearms related deaths in the country. They are often associated with reckless discharge of firearms, leading to stray bullets killing innocent by-standers. Apart from the gangs, neo-Nazi white supremist have been responsible for various mass shootings all around the country including the May 14th Buffalo shooting. Furthermore, the Statista Research suggests that about 53% of the mass shootings in the U.S. are conducted by White shooters followed by 16% by African American shooters and 8.5% by Latino shooters.

          However, gun violence is not just limited to the U.S., in fact Brazil is the world capital of gun related homicides, with 49,436 firearm related deaths in 2019. Venezuela and Mexico are also on the list at number 3 and 4 respectively, with 28,515 and 22,116 deaths. This is since gun violence is exceptionally high in Latin America due to the presence of various gangs and drug cartels. Most deaths are among children and teenagers, especially black kids (80% of the total child homicides).

India is number fifth on the list with 14,710 recorded cases of gun deaths in 2019. It has been in the news recently due to the assassination of a famous Pollywood singer turned politician Shubhdeep Singh popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala, who was shot twenty-four times in a village near Mansa (his hometown). India also has the problem of the Katta guns [untraceable and cheap (around 40 CAD) home-made pistols] that are used for majority of the gun crimes in India.

          The excess of weapons and their easy access has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Being able to buy a weapon at the age of eighteen and conceal carry permits are the perfect combination for disaster. It is high time that the governments across the world enforce strict gun laws, conduct proper background checks and psych evals before each sale of a firearm. For instance, California has the strictest gun laws and by far the least number of shootings. Even Canadian government tabled a new gun law freezing the import, purchase, and sale of handguns in the country. An assault buy-back programme has been promised to also decrease the amount of assault weapons in the country. These types of measures should be implemented in all the countries to make the world a safer and better place to live.

                                                                                                                                         ~Juppan Sandhu