Barely a month has passed since 20 children aged 6 and 7 were killed in their classrooms at Sandy Hook elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It is also disturbing that for many children in the United States, such gun-related violence has long been a sad fact of life due to structural poverty, economic decline, and crime.
According to a poll conducted by the New York Times and CBS, these shootings in particular have heavily swayed US public opinion towards stricter gun control laws. Other sources show similar support for gun control and the National Rifle Association has been upfront in their opposition.
Some facts on gun control:
- The United States has the highest gun murder rate among developed countries.
- We don’t know how many guns there are in the United States.
- There are enormous racial disparities related to violence and homicide that are not being addressed in the current debate.
- Gun ownership has “become one of the clearest examples of the partisan polarization in the country over the last two decades.”
- The United States has clear and significant cultural and historical differences that make simply adopting the policies of other countries like comparing apples to oranges (part 1 and part 2).
- There is no clear answer regarding the relationship between mental health care and gun violence?
I wish I was more optimistic that gun control would work. I believe the President’s proposals show much promise. However, I know a good many people who are proud gun owners who own them for sport and hunting and do not feel these efforts will be effective at responding to the root causes of violence in our society and put them through what they feel are additional, unnecessary hoops. After all, making one particular weapon more difficult to possess legally will not dissuade one who is truly committed to engaging in violent murder. So, how do we proceed? How can social work influence this debate?
- Is violence preventable?
- What does realistic gun control look like?
- Is gun control a curtailment of civil liberties? Do we need to carry guns in a civilized society? Where do we draw the line?
- What can social workers recommend to deter these types of crimes?
- What role can communications technologies, such as social media, serve as avenues for empowerment, advocacy, connection, and dialogue?
- How can we help survivors heal?
Join us and share your views and experiences regarding these and other relevant questions @SWSCmedia today 8:00 PM EST / 5:00 PM PST.