Gun Violence In The United States
Gun violence is an intensely debated political issue in the United States. Gun-related violence is most common in poor urban areas and frequently associated with gang violence, often involving male juveniles or young adult males. High-profile mass shootings have fueled debate over gun policies. In 2010 there were 358 deaths involving rifles. Deaths involving the use of pistols in the US that same year totaled 6,009 including suicides. High-profile assassinations such as those of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and the Beltway sniper attacks involved the use of rifles, usually with telescopic sights, from concealed locations.
Hand guns figured in the Virginia Tech shootings, the Binghamton massacre, the Fort Hood massacre, the Oikos University shooting, and the 2011 Tucson shooting. Assailants with multiple weapons committed the Aurora theater shooting, and the Columbine High School massacre.
In 2009, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 66.9% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm. There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000. Two-thirds of all gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides. Of the 30,470 firearm-related deaths in the United States in 2010, 19,392 (63.6%) were suicide deaths, and 11,078 (36.4%) homicide deaths.
Policies at the federal, state, and local levels have attempted to address gun violence through a variety of methods, including restricting firearms purchases by youths and other "at-risk" populations, setting waiting periods for firearm purchases, establishing gun "buy-back" programs, law enforcement and policing strategies, stiff sentencing of gun law violators, education programs for parents and children, and community-outreach programs.
Gun policies are influenced by interpretations since the late twentieth century of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees citizens the right to own and carry firearms, as protecting individual gun ownership. In 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court took a position for the first time in District of Columbia v. Heller, holding that the second amendment secured an individual's right to own firearms.
The Congressional Research Service in 2009 estimated there were 310 million firearms in the United States, not including weapons owned by the military. 114 million of these were handguns, 110 million were rifles, and 86 million were shotguns. In that same year, the Census bureau stated the population of people in America at 305,529,237.
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