Gun Violence in America: Risk, Consequences, and Prevention

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Why is there such a high level of gun violence in America? Lopez (2017) asserts that when it comes to guns, America has distinguished itself as a special country. It is one of the nations where the freedom to bear arms is protected by the constitution. In addition, compared to other industrialized countries, America is playing a significant role in the ease of access to firearms and gun-related homicides. According to a ratio, 42% of people in America, which has 4.4% of the global population, have access to firearms (Lopez 2017). In an article of Cerda (2016), 32,888 individuals of United States died in 2013 from a firearm injury including 21,175 suicides which indicated an equivalent number of 1 death by firearm in every 16 minute (Centre of Disease Control and Prevention 2013). Wintemute (2015) mentioned, firearm related violence resulted from suicide, where 60.5% deaths were reported from 2002-2012. The violence caused by firearms has not just resulted into higher rates of injuries and deaths, also the higher economic burden. In 2013, $299 billions were spent on health injuries, pain, criminal justice, sufferings and lost quality of life (Follman et al. 2015). This essay is centralized on examining the links and reasons which leads to gun violence in America, its comparison with global statistics and an attempt to find alternates and modes to reduce it.

On an individual level it is highly believed that the easy access to firearms and firearm related violence is connected; however, it has always been difficult to provide proof due to lack of available resources to create a direct relationship. A correlation between the cause and consequences of gun violence was examined by researchers of public health, criminal studies tending to use the information to develop an intervention and prevention plan (Tracy, Braga & Papachristos 2016).

While exploring responsible reasons for the cause of gun violence, an epidemiological idea of violence transmission from an individual, community, group, or population to another (Valente 2012) can be one of the possible themes. It indicates that like an epidemic pattern, violence can also be diffused through an exposure in a population (Valente 2012). Therefore, the possible believed reasons for the occurrence of violence transmission are through “social, behavioral, friendship, kinship, and other” kind of connection or networks among people (Tracy, Braga & Papachristos 2016).

There is an empirical evidence available for the gun violence transmission among the social network (Tracy, Braga & Papachristos 2016). Psychiatric risk factors are also strongly associated with the firearms violence suicide (Cerda 2016). Substance abuse is also included among one of the reasons for gun violence. Although, it is casually correlated, however, it is inclusive (Cerda 2016).

Based on social structure theory, the criminal dominance is prominent in a low income population. Social structure theory includes the social disorganization, strain and cultural deviance theories explain the causes for people to join violent groups (Cooper 2016). Social process theory explains a reason of criminal behavior due to lack of a good influence. It includes social learning, social control and social reaction theories (Cooper 2016).

After exploring the possible responsible reasons and theories for the gun violence, an insight on a local and global statistics can provide an excellent comparisons and evidence of the factors to decrease the violence rate in America. In a comparison among different nations like Germany and Canada, America has16 and six times higher firearm homicides (Lopez 2017). After the incident of 2012 where a gunman “killed 20 school children, six adults and himself there have been at least 1518 mass shootings” killed and injured 1,715 and 6,089 individuals respectively (Lopez 2017). On an average account, America has more than one shooting every day where states availability of more guns have more gun violence. Besides Unites states, developed nations with a rate of higher available guns have higher gun deaths while states with strict laws of gun usages (gun control laws) have lesser gun related violence (Lopez 2017). As people with guns are capable of killing them more easily, the states with more guns have a higher rates of gun violence.

In a comparison of Unites states with other developed nations, it has a 10 times higher rate of gun related killings (Preidt 2017). A 2010 review data of WHO reveled the higher rate of deadly violence due to higher rate of gun related violence (Preidt 2017). In a comparison to individuals in high income nation, there are seven times higher rate of death due to violence and six times higher rate of accidental kill with a gun among Americans (Preidt 2017). The study also revealed the higher rate of death of young individuals between ages of 15 and 24 (92%) were killed in United States (Predit 2017). United States also has higher gun related homicide rates than Pakistan (Kemon 2016).

Therefore, certain intervention plans, laws and policies are required to control the rate of gun related violence. There should be strict and mandate laws for the access and availability of guns. Since the Constitutional law od united states provides an easy access to the usage of guns, half of the civilians have guns. It can lead to both intentional and accidental gun related violence and deaths. As the empirical evidence from the studies has shown the epidemiological pattern of gun violence, it becomes an issue of public health and safety. Thus, mandatory laws and strict regulations would be helpful in reducing the effect of current evince of gun violence.

Canada has strict laws in comparison to Unites states which requires the own to be at least 18 years to obtain a license and it includes the public safety course and background check (Masters 2016). It has three classes of weapons as non-restricted, restricted and prohibited which allows a permission to use a restricted weapon to only individuals with a federal registration certificate. Australia also made strict laws after the massacre of 2002 and its policy is also suggested to serve as a model for United States. Israel has strict civilian gun laws which includes a mandatory 18 years’ age, psychological screening and 2-3 after high school weapon trainings (Masters 2016).

Therefore, United Sates requires to adopt certain policies from the countries like Australia and Israel to control the gun violence. Based on social structure theory and empirical evidence of local and global statistics, the implementation of psychological behavior checks, age, special training and background check with limiting the access to restricted weapons should be implemented to prevent the effect of gun violence.


Cedra, M. (2016). Editorial: Gun Violence—Risk, Consequences, and Prevention. American Journal of Epidemiology, 1-2.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Detailed tables for the National Vital Statistics Report (NVSR). Retrieved form http://www.

Cooper, T. (2016). Social theories: Explaining Gang Violence. Criminology and Justice, Digital Media USA Inc. Retrieved from

Follman, M., Lurie, J., Lee, J., et al. (2015). What does gun violence really cost? Retrieved form of-gun-violence-in-america.

Kemon, K.L. (2016). Visualizing gun deaths: comparing the U.S to rest of the world. Humanosphere. Retrieved from

Lopez, G. (2017). Gun violence in America, explained in 17 maps and charts. Retrieved from

Masters, J. (2016). How do U.S gun law compare to other countries. PBS Newshour. Retrieved from

Preidt, R. (2017). How U.S deaths compare to other countries. CBS News. Retrieved from

Tracy, M., Bagra, A.A. & Papachristos, A.V. (2016). The Transmission of Gun and Other Weapon-Involved Violence Within Social Networks. Epidemiologic Review, 38, 70-86.

Valente TW. Network interventions. Science. 2012;337(6090): 49–53.

Wintemute, G.J. (2015). Theepidemiologyoffirearmviolenceinthetwenty- first century United States. Annu Rev Public Health, 36, 5–19.

March 23, 2023

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