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521 mass shootings in 477 days: charting the US gun obsession

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By Emma Beswick
521 mass shootings in 477 days: charting the US gun obsession

The United States is one of the few countries where the right to bear arms is protected by the state constitution.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It comes as no surprise, then, that many adults in the US choose to carry a gun, but exactly how many are “packing” and what is the preferred firearm?

Mass shootings such as those in Charleston, Orlando and Las Vegas mean that US-gun law is questioned time and time again, the same arguments for and against civilians carrying guns being rehashed.

With 30% of adults carrying a firearm, what are the perceived repercussions of such a high percentage of the population carrying a lethal weapon?

Such a high number of armed individuals may seem strange to Europeans, but it is important to remember that America is a historically and culturally different environment to Europe when it comes to the use of firearms by private individuals.

Obama announced plans for stricter gun laws in an emotional 2016 speech referencing the Sandy Hook shooting, which saw the mass shooting of children and teachers in 2012.

The ex-president tried unsuccessfully to pass new gun control measures in the wake of Sany Hook.

Obama also made his exasperation at the deaths related to gun violence on Twitter.

“President Obama’s obsession with gun control knows no boundaries,” the National Rifle Association, a powerful gun lobby group, said at the time.

Trump, who signed a bill into law in February rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun, did not mention the US’ laws around carrying firearms in his speech after the Las Vegas shooting saw 59 killed and 525 injured.

A move that was criticised by anti-gun campaigners and Democratic lawmakers past and present alike.

The US Congress was debating two major laws to loosen gun restrictions at the beginning of October 2017 – one concerning the use of gun silencers and the other the right to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

It remained to be seen if change could be in the pipeline with gun lobbyists exerting tight control over US lawmakers and fending off any whiff of change.

Those on the front line of gun attacks continue to lead calls for Congress to act.