A gun for Christmas While in many countries it takes a complex process to buy a gun – courses, licenses, and tons of paperwork – it is very easy to get a gun in the US.

A gun for Christmas While in many countries it takes a complex process to buy a gun – courses, licenses, and tons of paperwork – it is very easy to get a gun in the US.

But even today, the right to own a weapon is sacred to many US citizens.

A gun for Christmas

While many countries take a complex process to buy a gun – courses, licenses, and tons of paperwork – getting a gun is very easy in the US. There are differences from state to state, but some guns are even sold in supermarkets if you have a few documents.

The United States is a country where guns are given away in families for Christmas. According to the Small Arms Survey, there is no other state with as many handguns per capita owned by civilians: there are more guns than citizens in the US, 120 per 100 people. That makes for sad records in other statistics: According to the organization Gun Violence Archive, more than 8,700 people have been killed by firearms in the USA since the beginning of the year alone – including cases in which police officers shot.

There are regular cases in which shooters open fire in shopping centers, schools or on the street and cause a bloodbath – as is now the case in El Paso and Dayton. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were more than 250 “mass shootings” this year alone: ​​According to the organization’s definition, these are cases in which at least four people were injured or killed by gun violence. In mathematical terms, that’s more than one such incident per day.

After these attacks, the same reflexes are repeated over and over again: Proponents of weapons recommend equipping teachers, security guards or citizens with more weapons so that they can protect themselves against attacks. Opponents of arms, on the other hand, are calling for stricter weapons laws – for example, a ban on war weapons such as assault rifles.

“Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun”

For some time now, the Democrats have been trying to enforce stricter background checks for those who want to buy a weapon. With their majority in the House of Representatives, they passed a draft law there in February. For the project to become a reality, the Senate, which is dominated by the Republicans, would have to give its approval. That is not in sight.

On Monday morning after the bloody weekend in El Paso and Dayton, US President Donald Trump first spoke out on Twitter in favor of tightening the background checks for gun owners. When he addressed the nation three hours later in the White House, he no longer mentions it, but mentions a number of other – rather vaguely worded – consequences: Among other things, he wants to ensure that the mentally ill, the one Pose a threat to the public, are no longer allowed to own weapons. Trump added the remarkable phrase to this announcement: “Mental illness and hatred, not the gun.”


Does that mean that the problem is not guns, but a few deranged people who don’t know how to handle them? Experts object immediately. Trump’s statement is also interesting in other ways: Under him, Congress abolished a regulation from the presidency of President Barack Obama – which led to the mentally ill regaining access to weapons. So Trump now wants to reverse that. He does not want a real tightening of the law.

The gun lobby organization NRA is pleased and praises the – for them gentle – line of the president. Democrats, on the other hand, scoff that it only took three hours for Trump to back off his call. “That shows that the president remains a prisoner of the gun lobby and the NRA,” complain the heads of the Democrats in the Senate and in the House of Representatives, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

What is the NRA?

Last year, after the massacre at a school in Parkland, Florida, Trump initially also spoke out in favor of stricter laws to raise the minimum age for gun purchases. He thus distanced himself from the NRA. A day later, he met with representatives of the organization – and then withdrew from the demand.

Efforts to stricter gun laws have been in vain for years – mainly because Trump’s Republicans are against it. The NRA vehemently opposes any attempt to regulate gun ownership more strongly.

The National Rifle Association is one of the most powerful lobby groups in the United States. The number of members is in the millions. It has a huge influence on politics. For example, the NRA grades MPs with a view to their stance on weapons issues – as a kind of guide to their members as to whom they should vote for and who should not.

The NRA has already ended political careers: In the 1990s, the then Chairman of the House of Representatives, Democrat Tom Foley, took on the arms lobby when he supported a ban on assault rifles. The NRA then launched a campaign against him. In the end, Foley missed getting back into Congress. It was the first time in decades that a powerful chairman of the House of Representatives failed to be re-elected to Congress. And it was a show of force by the NRA. Some politicians are downright afraid of the organization.

According to the USA expert of the German Society for Foreign Policy, Josef Braml, there will be no substantial tightening of the gun laws in the USA anytime soon. For the Republicans, gun ownership is a basic creed and an important factor in mobilizing their own base. “No Republican who has political ambitions will dare to go there.”

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The youngest

Oregon rampage

shakes the American public. An armed man killed at least ten people and injured several others at a university. It is understandable that stricter gun laws are being discussed again. Because the rampage is not an isolated incident. These five facts you should know about gun violence in the United States.

1. Gun violence is more widespread in the US than in other rich countries

In the USA, proportionally more people die from weapons than in comparable countries. There were 29.7 deaths per million inhabitants in the USA in about 2012. In Canada there were only 5.1 deaths in the same period, in Austria 2.2 and in Germany only 1.9 deaths, according to the “UN Office on Drugs and Crime”.

2. There are more guns than US citizens

The different licensing and registration regulations in the various US states make it difficult for American officials to compile exact statistics on US gun ownership. Many of the studies are based on pure survey projections.

According to one

Congress report from 2012

There were around 310 million civilian weapons around 2009, but only 307 million citizens. A statistical problem, however, is to filter out how many weapons can be found per household. A

Study from 2004

states that most gun owners’ households have more than one gun. It is even estimated that 65 percent of America’s guns can be found with 20 percent of gun owners.



, which was unveiled in June 2015, also states that nearly a third of adult US citizens own at least one firearm. For the most part, these are white, married men over 55 years of age. Gun owners are more than twice as likely that their family and friends also own guns and use them in everyday life. According to the study, there are immense differences among the states: only about five percent of adults in Delaware are gun owners – but almost 62 percent of Alaska’s citizens.

3. There is a relationship between the number of gun owners and the frequency of rampage

According to a recent study, there is a clear relationship between gun ownership and the number of rampages and other firearm incidents. “The US, Yemen, Switzerland, Finland and Serbia are the five countries with the most weapons per capita,” explains Professor Adam Lankford from the University of Alabama. “All of these five countries are also in the top 15 with the most major shootouts. It’s no coincidence.”

According to this, only five percent of the people in the world are US Americans, but 31 percent of all people who ran amok between 1966 and 2012 were. It was to be expected that with the mass of weapons more weapons would be used. “But I was surprised that the average number of casualties in other countries was higher than in the US, despite the fact that there were so many terrible incidents here.”

4. Whoever lives in a US arms household has a higher risk of being shot

A study shows that gun owners in the US are more likely to die from gun violence, according to a team of researchers from Columbia University in New York.

Statistically speaking, seven children and adolescents are shot every day in the USA, according to a study by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence organization, which fights for stricter gun laws. According to the study, 60 percent of all deaths from firearms of children and adolescents up to the age of 19 take place in a home – whether in one’s own house or that of friends, neighbors and relatives.

In 2011, more than 2,700 children and teenagers were killed by firearms in the United States, the report said. In incidents at home, school shootings and accidents, the shooters used weapons from their homes. According to the study, around 1.7 million children in the United States lived in a home with a loaded, unlocked weapon in 2014.

5. Suicide is more common in arms households

The majority of murders in the United States are committed by guns (68 percent in 2011). However, gun possession correlates even more closely with the probability of suicide. A

Study by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center

shows that more suicides are committed in US states with more gun possession. It has also been shown that households with at least one weapon are more likely to commit suicide. One factor influencing the study, however, is that suicide attempts made with firearms are more fatal than those made with tablets or cuts.

© APA / Walter Longauer

At a glance: The deadliest shootings in the United States in recent years

July 18, 1984: An unemployed security guard shoots around in a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, California. 21 people die.

October 16, 1991: A man speeds through the windshield of a restaurant in Killeen, Texas in his pick-up truck. Then he fires around there and kills 22 people. The perpetrator then shoots himself.

April 20, 1999: At Columbine School in Littleton, Colorado, two youths dressed in black and hooded shoot twelve classmates and a teacher. After that, they kill themselves.

July 29, 1999: A 44-year-old punter kills his two children and his wife in Atlanta, Georgia. He then opens fire in two brokerage offices and kills nine people before killing himself.

March 21, 2005: In Red Lake, Minnesota, a youth bloodbathes a school and then kills himself. Nine people die, including five students and a teacher. The student had previously killed his grandfather and his partner.

April 16, 2007: In the bloodiest rampage to date at a US university, at least 33 people die at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, including the perpetrator.

December 24, 2008: A gunman in Santa suit kills nine guests at a Christmas party in Covina, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, and then kills himself.

April 3, 2009: A Vietnamese man shot dead 13 people at an immigrant center in the city of Binghamton, New York state.

November 5, 2009: A military psychiatrist opens fire on a US military base in Texas. The man with Palestinian roots kills 13 people and injures 32 others before he can be overwhelmed.

October 12, 2011: In the Californian resort of Seal Beach, a man shoots himself in a barber shop over a custody battle with his ex-wife. He kills eight people, including the mother of his child.

April 2, 2012: A 43-year-old man kills seven people and injures three others in a religious university in the state of California. Then he turns himself in to the police. The victims had to line up in front of a wall before they were shot.

July 20, 2012: A man opens fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado during the premiere of the new “Batman” movie. Twelve people die and 58 others are injured. The gunman is arrested.

December 14, 2012: A young man enters Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and shoots 20 young children and six adults there. He had previously killed his mother at home. After the fact, the 20-year-old gunman takes his own life.

September 16, 2013: A man who works for a Department of Defense subcontractor opens fire on the US Navy offices in Washington. He shoots twelve people before being shot by the police himself.

June 17, 2015: A young white man, apparently a racist, shot dead nine black people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

October 1, 2015: At least ten people were shot dead at Umpqua Community College in the small town of Roseburg, Oregon. The perpetrator, who was later killed by the police, also injured seven other people.

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