Photo Credit: Matthew Wiebe
Thanks to the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, the United States has more civilian-owned guns than any other nation on earth. Most estimates put the number of guns in the U.S. anywhere from 270 million to 310 million—nearly one gun for each man, woman, and child. A 2013 Pew Research study found that 37% of American households have at least one firearm. Although the vast majority of American gun-owners are law-abiding, it is inevitable that a significant number of firearms will wind up in the hands of criminals.
For this reason, the U.S. also has the highest rate of homicides by firearms among developed nations. Of these homicides, handguns are used the overwhelming majority of the time. This should not be a surprise as the burgeoning drug trade has turned many American cities and urban areas into perpetual war-zones. Much of the U.S. drug trade is fueled by Mexican cartels that are wreaking havoc along the unprotected southern border and into the interior of the country.
However, the drug trade is not the only threat from a porous border. Violent Islamic extremists have repeatedly proclaimed the U.S. to be their primary target. Countless news reports have documented the barbarity of militant Islam. Homegrown “lone-wolf” attacks in America are becoming more and more frequent. Adding to decades of urban violence and threat of terrorism, the last couple years have shown an increasing tension between the citizens of crime ridden neighborhoods and law-enforcement.
Ferguson, Missouri was rocked by riots and looting in 2014. The rioting returned earlier this spring, only this time in Baltimore which is America’s 26th most populated city. The spreading riots and mistrust of police has led to officers being reluctant to make arrests resulting in violent-crime rates skyrocketing.
Fortunately, Americans are not known for cowering to those who would do harm. Aside from personal protection, there are many other defensive and preventative measures available to mitigate the possibility of being injured or killed by gun-toting individuals or groups with nefarious intent. With violence spreading and police withdrawing, it is crucial for Americans to start finding innovative ways to best protect themselves and their loved ones.