The Guardian view on soaring US gun violence: America must face the problem

The Guardian view on soaring US gun violence: America must face the problem

The US already had more guns than people when sales began rising a few years ago. It is now set for its highest number of gun killings in 20 years As Covid cases surge once more in the US, another public health crisis is pummelling the country too. Last year, gun killings soared by around 4,000 , to almost 20,000 in total – the worst single-year increase on record. So far, 2021 looks even worse. In the first five months alone, more than 8,100 people died . America is set for the deadliest toll in nearly two decades. Alarmingly, there is also a surge in gun purchases. The US already had more guns than people when sales began rising a few years ago. But last year saw a 64% jump compared with the previous year, to an estimated 20m guns. Around a fifth of buyers were first-time owners. The pandemic sparked a rush to purchase firearms, and some bought because so many others were doing so. The backlash against Black Lives Matter protests may have played a part. Black Americans saw the highest increase in gun ownership and, reportedly, Asian Americans also bought more guns , as hate crimes have risen. Sales have continued to grow this year, with manufacturers struggling to produce enough ammunition . Research so far does not suggest a direct correlation between the rises in gun sales and violence. Experts point instead to economic desperation, isolation and the loss of social structure with the closure […]

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