“Gun violence is a public health epidemic…” – Adelyn Allchin
Death by guns in America hit a new record of 39,773 in 2017. That’s an over 16% increase since 1999. The majority, 23,854, were suicides. Whether that’s a statement about pervasive anxiety, the availability of guns, or some other cause, it is a cause for action, not just a cause for concern. The AIDS epidemic reached similar levels, but has abated thanks to action and changing attitudes. 2018’s series of mass shootings may inspire similar levels of action, but just as with AIDS, attitudes, cultures, and entrenched organizations may delay a reduction. Since 1999, the number of guns manufactured has roughly tripled even though the number of households with guns is relatively steady. The one trend effects the probability of more deaths. The other trend suggests the effect may be confined to certain households because, paradoxically, the people at the greatest risk to dying by gun are gun owners.