#GuestColumn |  Gun culture in the US: limits and possibilities

#GuestColumn | Gun culture in the US: limits and possibilities

However, beyond the debates, the data is dramatic. Each year more than 40,000 people die from firearms in the United States; Between January and May of this year alone, more than 17,000 people have died in this country for these reasons, including 650 minors. Texas, considered one of the states with the weakest regulations for the sale and possession of weapons, registers more than 3,600 deaths from firearms. In the specific case of minors, in 2021 weapons caused more than 1,500 minor deaths and more than 4,000 were injured; so far in 2022, about 650 minors have died in these circumstances. But there is an addition that increases the vulnerability of US citizens: in 2020 more than 23 million weapons were sold in this country and so far in 2021 about 20 million. In short, this country has more guns than people.

With these data, it would seem that it is not complex to reach the conclusion that a broad debate is necessary on the need to generate new regulations on the sale, possession and use of weapons in this country. However, this unquestionable fact collides head-on with several issues:

1) The political and economic power of the National Rifle Association. His presence is not manifested only as a political actor who finances Republican Party campaigns. He is possibly the great promoter of the historical narrative that attributes to weapons the representation of a right, supposedly framed in the Second Amendment. In the judgment United States vs Miller (1939) the Supreme Court determined that the Second Amendment allowed the right to carry and possess weapons for military use; therefore, it protected this right for use in the military, but later interpretations were modifying the original idea until it was placed in the space of individual rights, that is, the prerogative of owning weapons as a particular right. Here such a prerogative certainly appears as a source of power for specific groups. For this reason, modifying the rules relating to weapons necessarily involves taking away the power of this association in the legislative field and as a power of lobby, in addition to declining his role as a financer of political campaigns. Quite a challenge for the political system of this country.

2) Weapons production in the US economy. This industry is valued at about 20,000 million dollars; In 2020 alone, 5.5 million pistols were produced (highlighting the Glock), which constitutes almost 50% of the national production of weapons; As for rifles, almost 2.8 million are manufactured annually. For this reason, an industry of this caliber, which provides millions of jobs and contributes very important figures to the economy, requires alternatives to avoid a crisis.

3) The culture or narrative of security. For millions of citizens of this country, there is a very close correlation between their safety and gun ownership. Taking on the challenge of confronting the arms industry means generating educational strategies to reorient future generations on this deeply rooted idea. These types of strategies would bear fruit in very long terms.

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