US obstinacy over guns is bad for its soft power
America must revise its peculiar view of individual liberty in the context of weapons not just to keep its people safe but also shore up its global appeal as an exemplar of liberal democracy
Gun violence in the US shows no sign of abating. Three fresh incidents of gun-fire were reported this week in which a total of nine residents of the country got killed. These occurred barely a couple of days after a gunman opened fire at revellers at a party in Los Angeles, taking 11 lives. This frequency speaks of how alarming the problem has become. US records show nearly 650 mass shootings and about 44,000 lives lost to gunshot wounds over the span of 2022 alone. The data is staggering even if such killings have long been endemic. No less eye-popping, at least to distant observers like us, is America’s estimate of about 400 million firearms in people’s hands—more than one per person. This is the direct result of an easy-weapons policy. Sadly, even frequent fatalities have proven insufficient to make the country budge on something that marks it apart and reinforces a caricature of it being the home of trigger-happy cowboys rather than ‘the brave’.
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