The two recent incidents have reignited the debate on gun laws in the US, a country with one of the most lax controls on gun ownership in the world. The US has the highest civilian gun ownership globally. According to RAND Corporation’s Gun Policy in America Initiative, there are about 12 firearms for every 10 civilians in the country. This may be one reason that the country sees greater rates of homicides — about six times higher than in other developed nations, according to a 2016 study.
In the past one week, the US has witnessed two mass shootings – one in Atlanta where eight individuals, including six women of Asian origin, were killed; and another in Boulder, Colorado, where a gunman killed 10 people inside a grocery store.
In Atlanta, another man killed eight people after he went on a rampage at three spa locations on March 16. Six of the victims killed were women of Asian descent, which sparked fear and concern in the community. According to media reports, the suspect, who has been charged with eight counts of murder, told the police that he carried out the shootings to eliminate temptation because of his sexual addiction. But the police have not yet ruled out bias as a motive.
Gun control in the US is rooted in the Second Amendment of the country’s Constitution. According to information maintained by the Library of Congress, in June 2008, the Supreme Court, for the first time since 1939, issued a decision interpreting the Second Amendment. At the time, the court ruled that the amendment gave the right to US citizens to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes such as self-defence.