Many people believe that banning guns will solve the gun violence issue but there are other paths;
- Secure weapon storage laws
- Research and promote mental health support
- Support smart policing options
- Get involved
We live in strange and dangerous times. There have been a lot of reports in the news over the past few years that makes it seem like massshootings are on the rise. And while there are a significant number of guns used in homicides,gun violence is a much broader term that encompasses much more. For instance, suicide by gun is a more likely way for someone to die via gun violence than in a mass shooting. That’s right, it’s more likely you or someone you know will use a gun to commit suicide than to kill another person. That’s why, if you own firearms, it is very important that you have secure gun storage.
As always, prevention is the best way to stop gun violence, but despite what you may have heard, not all left-leaning people want to take away guns. There’s tons of ways to reduce gun violence without having to outright ban guns.Instead of focusing on taking away firearms, which would be a very hard battle to win if not impossible, perhaps we can stop gun violence by starting small.Below are a few ways that gun violence can be reduced without completely taking away all guns.
First of all, and it must be said, preventing someone who has the intent to harm themselves or others from accessing a firearm makes it impossible to use that firearm, obviously. So if you own firearms, having it in secure storage is the best way you can make sure your weapons won’t be used in any violent scenario and turned into statistic. If you don’t own firearms you can advocate for secure storage laws beyond the current ones in your state.
Promote Mental Health
Though you can’t blame gun shootings on mental illness all the time, not even most of the time, gun suicide is almost always linked to some form of mental health issue. And since gun suicides outweigh gun homicides by nearly 2:1 (CDC.gov) it stands to reason that the more we help and advocate for mental illness treatment the fewer gun suicides we will see.
There is substantial evidence spanning from the 1990’s that suggests the way police approach and interact with members of criminal gangs greatly impacts the likelihood of those gang members to involve themselves in gun violence. The first police operation that took this approach was in Boston. It, and subsequent expansion of similar operations in other cities, saw a reduction in gun violence between 20 and 40%. The approach was simple:
- Let criminal gangs know the police know who they are
- Let it be known gun violence will not be tolerated
- Help people out of criminal activity
All these ways to reduce gun violence may work, but you may be stuck sitting there thinking “well that’s nice, but what can I do?”. Fair point, that’s why this last one is for you. Reaching out and becoming actively involved in your community, volunteering for community safety initiatives and letting it be known that you are someone people can go to is by far the most direct way to reduce the likelihood of gun violence in your community. It’s important that you do not act in place of therapists, police or the proper channels available to people. But you can certainly direct people to the help they need.