Over the past couple of decades, there have been many controversies surrounding guns and mass shootings, or killings in general. Shootings can be seen all over media coverage and mass shootings usually hold the spotlight for weeks after they ended. This would create the appearance that guns account for a lot more deaths than they actually do. Now, that is not to say that firearms are not involved in deaths that could have been prevented, but they are put at the forefront of killing and illustrated as the highest cause of preventable death by the media. However, statistically speaking, this is very untrue.
First of all, there is a problem placing the entirety of the blame of murder on inanimate objects. To say that guns, cars, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. kill people on their own without the influence of any human interaction is simply an idealist illogical fallacy. Since humans existed, they have killed each other for their own selfish desires, no matter what type of weapon they used, or if they even used one at all. According to the FBI, the category of hands, fists, and feet kill on average, more than twice as many people as rifles do. Since this is the case, why is congress demonizing “assault rifles” and trying to get them banned more than any other type of firearm? According to this same FBI Homicide Data Table, handguns kill over 200 times as many people as rifles annually, yet handguns are rarely targeted for legislation.
Also, yes, firearms do account for murders, but not as much as one would think. Again, that FBI Homicide Data table proves that they do kill a little over 8,000 people a year, which although a shame, is not as significant as other causes of death. According to the CDC, firearms are not on the top 15 causes of death for the United States as a whole, or for even one particular state. Another analysis by the CDC states that up to 40% of deaths can be prevented, which means that death will always happen, and by more causes than just firearms even if they can be prevented.
Finally, claiming that guns kill people does not account for the infinite variables surrounding the situation, especially human error. In this study conducted by the FBI, Experts have concluded that mass shootings have increased in recent years, and it even gives demographics on the shooters, but what it leaves out are the reasons why mass shootings have increased (gun laws, etc.), and the mental health of the shooters. Mental health is an enormous problem in the United States on its own, but has significant affects on shootings as well. While someone cannot be held personally responsible for what they do when they are mentally ill, neither can firearms. Mental health is the biggest motive for committing mass shootings, and yet it goes unlooked by the media and even the FBI. These studies done by Stanford University broke down the affects of mental illness on mass shootings. While this is a topic I can cover all own its own, I think that the numbers are shocking and mental health is an overlooked issue.
Overall, I would like to make that point that guns do account for preventable deaths, but the factors surrounding it are the much bigger issue. We can always save one more life by forcing tobacco companies to put one less cigarette in each pack, or by forcing alcohol companies to put one less ounce in each bottle, but people also need to ultimately take responsibility for the actions they commit (given they are competent or mentally fit), which is a bigger issue. Mass shootings are a lot more complicated than just guns and death tolls, therefore, creating more legislation against them will not necessarily help and I hope that people in the future will consider that