Rising Gun Violence Threatens U.S. Democracy, Warns Researcher

Rising Gun Violence Threatens U.S. Democracy, Warns Researcher

Photo by MarylandGovPic via Flickr. The confluence of rising gun sales and political extremism has put U.S. democracy at risk, warns a leading gun violence researcher. Dr. Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) at UC Davis and the California Firearm Violence Research Center , says the “unprecedented surge in firearm purchases” has created a combustible political landscape. “We have no time to waste if we are to prevent the loss of thousands of lives and emerge with our democracy intact,” Wintemute wrote in a commentary, noting that the 27.5 percent increase in violent crime last year, along with a 6.5 percent increase in hate crimes should worry all Americans. (Latest figures show that the increase in homicides had already begun to slow over the past several months, and the numbers are still well below the peak crime rates of the 1990s.) Dr. Garen Wintemute Nevertheless, Wintemute said the rise in violent rhetoric challenging traditional U.S. institutions, which led to the Jan. 6 storming of Congress needed to be addressed, Wintemute cited social media sites and leading conservative figures who appeared to endorse a military-style coup , and the resurgence of voter suppression laws reminiscent of the Jim Crow era. “All of these examples, and many more, point to a strong possibility of large-scale political violence soon within the U.S.,” Wintemute said. The commentary comes as the Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on a New York case which will rule on the ability of states […]

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