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In the wake of the June 12th massacre in Orlando, the gun control debate emerged, once again, with renewed vigor. The talking heads on the airwaves, the politicians, even a filibuster on the Senate floor all focused on the rate at which Americans lose their lives to senseless gun violence—some experts stating that Americans are 20 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries.

United States Gun Culture

And as the funeral services for the 49 victims who lost their lives in Orlando are still underway, we remember the nine who lost their lives to gun violence at a historic black church, in Charleston, South Carolina, just one year ago on the night of June 17, 2015. If we're being honest, we know there will be more.

United States Gun Culture

So, this week, while there are lots of issues being debated around these massacres—the 2nd Amendment, racial and ethnic hatred, LGBTQ hatred, self-loathing, terrorism, mental illness—shouldn't we take an honest look at ourselves and ask, why does the United States not do what countries all over the world do to control gun violence?

We can make this as complex as we want but the simple fact is that countries all over the world play the same video games and have the same mental health issues as the United States, but they manage to avoid a ridiculously high gun murder rate perhaps because they regulate gun ownership in ways that produce outcomes that make their societies safer than ours.

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Australia, a country that shares many of the characteristics of the United States, was once on a similar path when it came to gun ownership. But in 1996, within months after a man went on a rampage with a semi-automatic rifle killing 35, Australian politicians enacted strict legislation that has resulted in a significant reduction of gun violence.

United States Gun Culture

So today we want you to weigh in. Given that the gun murder rates in all other similarly situated countries including Canada are significantly lower than that of the United States, there is clearly a pathway to more sensible gun behavior. So what stops the U.S. from enacting laws that foster more sensible behavior? Is gun ownership an intractable element of U.S. culture? Or are we being fed that line by the powerful gun lobby?

Vote but then in the comments section below tell us how you think gun murder rates in the United States might ever change.

Here's the question for this week.

[poll id="66"]

Sharon Kyle
Publisher, LA Progressive