By Eason Zhou
Virginia has a reputation for having historically lax gun laws, which have generated discussion and attention frequently. Despite the state’s long history of hunting and gun ownership, its lax gun regulations have made it possible to openly carry firearms in public areas and have few background checks for private sales. Concerns about gun crime and public safety have been raised by this laxity, which has prompted calls for tougher laws and background checks.
Is Virginia genuinely effective in reducing gun violence through firearms restrictions? No, is the response. The U.S. state with the 29th-highest rate of gun violence is Virginia. Between 2010 and 2019, there was a 9 percent increase in gun-related deaths, a 4 percent increase in gun-related suicides, and a 20 percent increase in gun-related homicides in Virginia. At $836 per person annually, Virginia is rated 31st in the U.S. for the highest social cost of gun violence. Virginia spends $7 billion on gun-related deaths and injuries, of which $292 million is covered by tax dollars. Of gun-related deaths, 32% are homicides and 65% are suicides. Virginia averages 7.4 suicides and 0.7 suicide attempts per 100,000 people, or 663 gun-related fatalities and 62 gun-related injuries annually. Virginia has the 35th-highest rate of attempted and actual firearm suicides in the US. In Virginia, the average annual number of gun-related homicides and assaults is 339 for every 100,000 people, or 4.1 homicides and 7.8 assaults per 100,000 people. In the U.S., Virginia has the 31st-highest rate of gun-related killings and assaults. In 77 percent of all killings, a gun is used. The primary cause of death for kids and teenagers is firearms. In Virginia, firearms claim the lives of 85 adolescents and teenagers on average each year; homicides account for 55 percent of these deaths. 111 women were shot dead by an intimate partner between 2015 and 2019, and 62 percent of victims of female intimate relationship homicide died with a gun in their hands.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of gun control measures can vary depending on the cultural, social, and economic factors of each country. Additionally, correlation does not always imply causation, and other factors may contribute to the observed outcomes. But I believe that regardless of the cultural and economic differences between countries, no country’s people hope that more people will die from gunfire. The United States ranks among the top in the world in terms of various data related to shootings, and there is still a lot of room for progress on the gun control front. The effectiveness of gun restrictions has been well demonstrated in some countries, so why hasn’t the United States taken action to reach a collective consensus on limiting firearms in order to create a more harmonious living environment?
While some may claim that owning a gun gives them the opportunity to protect themselves, the simple truth is that guns are more often used to cause harm than to protect. The data shows that loose gun restrictions lead to more firearm deaths. There are many people in the process of promoting the new law who are preventing its change, whether it is organizations like the NRA or individual citizens. However, to change the situation, we can only speak out in hopes of changing the minds of more people. As more and more people join, those who truly have the ability to change policies will take action. I hope this day will come soon and make our society better.