By Melissa Murray
After a lockdown lull, America has reverted to type. In recent months, episodes of gun violence and mass shootings have punctuated the news cycle. At some point, we may barely even register the fact of gun-related events, we’ve become so anesthetized to them.
How did it get this way? Obviously, lots of people—from sociologists and criminologists to political scientists and economists—have proffered various theories about why gun violence is minimal in other advanced democracies but seems endemic in the United States. One factor that almost all scholars seem to agree on is that guns are more available in the United States. That is, the supply of guns is ample, and though there are laws that may seek to limit access to guns, more and more states are loosening gun control regulations while simultaneously authorizing gun owners to lawfully use their guns to “stand their ground” and defend themselves and their property. Some have argued that this gun-friendly legal landscape is the result of intensive lobbying efforts orchestrated by gun rights groups, like the National Rifle Association. There is no doubt that the NRA has been unapologetic and unwavering in its support of more permissive gun laws.