The Never-ending Gun Violence in the USA through Human Rights Lens
The use of firearms is an international human rights concern today. The rising trend of gun-related injuries in various states offers a frightening situation in the United States, where anyone might be a victim of gun violence at any time. With the highest ever recorded rates of gun purchases in 2020 and 2021, the United States is also experiencing a dramatic increase in gun-related deaths.
As has been the case every year since 2019, 2022 has already seen more mass shootings than days. According to the Gun Violence Archive, this year is on track to have the second-highest number of mass shootings in the United States. Unfortunately, American authorities continue to disregard the correlation between gun violence and human rights violations, leading to an increase in annual fatalities.
America’s Human Rights Violation and Gun Violence Crisis
The right to life itself is in jeopardy because of gun violence. It’s a tragedy that affects people every day all across the world. Every day, firearms are responsible for the deaths of more than 500 people. It is worsening the human rights situation in the country as a whole and will have long-lasting effects on victims and their families.
The United States stands out among other industrialized and wealthy nations in terms of gun violence. The U.S. administration seems to have let gun violence escalate into a human rights problem. Due to lax gun control and easy access to firearms, over 39,000 Americans, including children, lose their lives to gun violence every year.
Due largely to its gun culture, the United States currently boasts the highest per capita number of civilian firearms in the world. It now has 120 firearms for every 100 people, making it even more armed than Yemen, which is experiencing one of the deadliest civil wars in modern history.
Several analysts say that the unilateral actions of the United States government have resulted in a proliferation of humanitarian crises around the globe. The U.S. government puts the right to bear arms ahead of fundamental civil liberties. The stunning lack of federal laws that could save thousands of lives is especially concerning given a large number of weapons in circulation and the high number of gun-related deaths annually.
It is important to note that in the United States, African American communities and young black men are disproportionately affected by firearm homicide. Despite making up only 13% of the U.S. population, African Americans nationally accounted for 58.5% of these cases. This is indicative of a gross violation of human rights. The growing intolerance in the country for people of different races is deeply disturbing, especially for Asian Americans.
Gun violence in the United States must be reduced for several reasons.
Every day, at least 2,000 individuals are injured by gunfire, and at least 2 million people are currently living with firearm injuries. The United States has a far higher rate of gun violence than other countries, especially those wealthy countries. The devastating and long-lasting psychological repercussions of gun violence on individuals, families, and communities are felt by millions. It’s easy to lose sight of the human tragedies that lie behind the numbers while we’re so preoccupied with their analysis and rankings. A person’s life is valuable and unique.
Killing someone or having a mass shooting doesn’t halt gun violence; rather, it’s becoming a self-perpetuating loop in which people’s fears about their own safety lead them to purchase additional firearms. The rising number of gun suicides is another indicator of domestic fragility. The widespread availability of firearms is a contributing cause to the epidemic of gun violence.
Given that the right to life is the most fundamental human right, the international community’s assessment of the United States human rights record should include consideration of the country’s ability to reduce gun violence. Before things get out of hand, the U.S. government can do more to improve security by enacting stricter gun control regulations. They should also set up a victim support system to help the survivors and the families of the victims deal with the tragedy.
The Next Steps
During the most recent U.S. midterm elections, gun violence was a major topic of discussion. Repeated shootings contradict President Joe Biden‘s call for action on gun violence, which has only been getting worse. Gun control and violence prevention initiatives, if properly implemented, can put an end to this bloodshed.
At the very least, governments should acknowledge that gun violence is a serious problem that endangers citizens’ right to life, as well as their right to physical integrity, security, and well-being. Laws must be strictly enacted and enforced to achieve this. The current leadership in the United States should stop advising other countries and focus on making things better at home.
The United States must do all it can to safeguard human rights, making life as secure as possible for the vast majority of its citizens, especially those most vulnerable. In the face of repeated gun violence, a state may violate its obligations under international human rights law if it does not exercise effective control over the acquisition and use of firearms.
It hasn’t made any particularly forward-thinking choices about tighter regulations yet. So the U.S. should prioritize its home situation while also advocating for the same policy in its human rights and global policy.