It is legal to kill your unarmed neighbor in America. This year 83,695 people have been shot by guns in the US, and the year is not over. Many of these victims were unarmed. This is perhaps the most important fact about guns in America. There are 310 million privately owned firearms here with 47% of Americans claiming to have at least one gun in their homes. Americans killed by guns in their communities are from all walks of life. Perhaps the “wild west” is alive and well.
Unfettered ability to kill anyone by whom a citizen feels threatened is characteristic of the laws in 20 states, including Georgia. In these states, the NRA’s $1.5 million lobbying effort has backed “castle doctrines” allowing individuals to kill others in broader circumstances, such as the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida. The “stand your ground” law allows individuals to pull the trigger while walking down the street.
The quagmire of consequences caused by the legal right to kill an unarmed “neighborhood threat” with a preemptive strike is filling American courts. Yet “gun control” issues tend to surface publicly only during elections or when firearm killings headline the nightly news.
So, a recent shooting in Kalispell, Montana has once again raised questions about the number of guns owned by Americans in their households, and whether this number, along with the strength of the National Rifle Association lobby, affects the American homicide rate each year. The Second Amendment right that has been defended by the NRA since the 1800s is a constant issue in the country’s politics, particularly as the selection of firearms available to Americans has become more lethal.
The shooting involved an armed man, fraternizing with the wife of another man in his home, who killed the unarmed husband of said wife as he walked up the driveway toward the house. The armed man shot the unarmed husband three times, saying “he felt threatened by him.”
Montana citizens can shoot anyone who approaches their homes “perceived to be a threat,” based upon the expression “a man’s home is his castle.”
Fareed Zakaria studied gun violence in America shortly after James Holmes opened fire in Aurora, Colorado last summer.
Citing UNODC International Homicide Statistics, Zakaria points out that while the US has 5% of the world’s population, it owns 50% of its firearms, 88 guns per 100 people. Next is Yemen’s 54 per 100. Iraq is alongside. America’s homicide rate is 20 times that of Australia and England.
Although the Montana and Florida killings involved handguns, the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence reports that assault weapons are easily purchased at gun shows, like the guns used at Columbine. 50% to 75% of vendors at gun shows are unlicensed dealers, performing no background checks.
Although many Americans state their weapons are for hunting, only 5% say they participate in the sport.