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Gun violence, race, and gender

Maybe it’s not gun ownership we should be talking about.

Regarding gun violence in the United States, there are a couple of things to keep in mind before we conclude that the gun violence is caused by an abundance of guns.

Let’s take mass shootings.

According to Statista, of the mass shooting that occurred in the United States between 1982 and 2019, 2.6% were committed by women. However, women make up 36% of the people who own guns. If gun ownership is connected to gun violence, then shouldn’t women make up a proportion of mass shooters closer to 36% than 2.6%?

Likewise, during the same period, black people accounted for 16.7% of the perpetrators of mass shootings. Gun ownership is 19% black. Same goes for Latin Americans: 8.8% of mass shootings but 20% gun ownership. If gun ownership is connected to gun violence, then shouldn’t black people make up a proportion of mass shooters closer to 19% than 16% and Latin Americans closer to 20% than 8.8?

On the other hand, men make up 97.4% of those responsible for mass shootings yet only 64% of gun owners. As well, white people make up 57% of mass shootings despite making up only 41% of gun owners. Men make up a larger proportion of perpetrators of mass shootings than they do for gun ownership. Likewise, white people make up a larger proportion of perpetrators of mass shootings than they do gun ownership.

Maybe it’s not gun ownership we should be talking about.

Maybe we should be discussing why men are responsible for almost all of the US mass shootings over a period spanning nearly 4 decades? Maybe we should be discussing why white people are disproportionately responsible for more US mass shootings than any other ethnic group.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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