Gun ownership is a real problem in the United States (US). More so than in any other country. And the statistics back that up. It is thought that there are around 300 million guns in the US, held by about a third of the population. And according to the BBC website, in 2015 there were 372 mass shootings and overall some 13,286 people killed by firearms alone. The question is not only why this is the case but more importantly how such action can be prevented going forwards?

The positives of gun ownership

It is important to mention at the outset that there are many people in the United States who support gun ownership.

The SafeWise website stated that "gun ownership is a basic American right". This view is often backed up by the US constitution and the second amendment in particular which seeks to protect the right of the people to "keep and bear arms" as the History website states. There are also many who believe that possessing a firearm is an advantageous thing primarily for the security it provides. The Jpfo website claims that when you pass strict gun control laws, you take the "fear of getting shot away". Michael Snyder from Jpfo stated that "the government cannot protect us adequately, and that is one reason why millions are arming themselves". It is this protection factor which is primarily why so many people possess firearms and there are statistics to reinforce this point.

The Offgridsurvival website stated for example that around 205,000 women use a firearm to protect themselves from sexual abuse.

The problems with gun ownership

However, despite this, although they may provide security and are a fundamental right, there are a significant number of people in the US who oppose gun ownership, for a number of key reasons.

With so many people possessing guns, who is to stop somebody going on a "shooting spree" at any time as stated on the Rulen website? The case of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting illustrates that. In addition, it can be argued that violence brings on more violence. It is true that many people have a fear of being attacked and so possess a firearm.

However, as a matter for the security themselves, the culprit who is about to commit a crime may also possess a gun as a result. This abuse of gun ownership is reflected in the stats shown. According to the Business Insider website, Americans use guns to murder each other "twice as often" as they use other murder weapons.

Is it important to note that people in other countries do possess firearms, including the United Kingdom (UK) and Japan. But the major difference between these nations and the US is the difficulty in buying a firearm. Japan makes it very hard to buy and own guns, according to the Vox website. They have some of the strongest gun control laws in the world. This is similar to the United Kingdom too.

However, in the United States, this is very much different too. According to CNN, not only do hundreds of stores sell guns such as Walmart, but the required background check is not too exhaustive; denials of buying a gun are very rare, occurring less than "1% of the time".

The solution going forward

However, although it may be easy to purchase, it does not fully resolve the issue as to the continually frequent use of guns. Simply having a gun does not necessarily answer why guns are used so often in situations. And so the question is, how do we prevent such further gun violence? First of all, just to stem the tide, there needs to be stricter gun laws. Firearms should not be so easily accessible to the general public and deterrents should be put in place to prevent further firearm attacks.

But long term, there needs to be a greater drive to educate the public on the problems with gun use. It needs to be emphasised that using a gun as a weapon is not the answer. Until there is this Education, the problem is not going to go away.