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Poverty: The Biggest Factor In Our Nation’s Gun Violence

The rate of gun homicides went down in 1994 – 2015 — at the same time, gun ownership also increased during this time. If an increase in gun ownership didn’t have increase gun violence back then, what is causing the recent surge of gun violence in the country?

Allen Youngman, a retired Army major general and special deputy for the Daviess County Sherriff’s Department, said that the biggest factor causing it is poverty.


A firearms trainer and instructor on mass shooting response, Youngman prepared a study on gun violence connected to public health for Healthy Horizons, an organization from Owensboro. The data he presented stated that gun ownership increased by 56% between 1994 and 2014, but homicides fell by 49% during that same period.

An increase of gun homicides was noted in 2017, compared to the data from 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report stating that firearm-related homicide rates in 2017 were 12.2 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 12.0 in 2016.

He has also mentioned that it was worth noticing that 75% of gun homicides occur in 3% of 3000 counties in the United States.

“It’s very important not to draw the conclusion that race is a factor — when you look at where most homicides occur, it tends to be poor neighborhoods.”

“People say, ‘it’s a racial thing,’ and it’s not. It’s all about poverty.”

Making it increasingly difficult for Americans to purchase firearms in the United States would not solve the problem of gun homicides — because, according to Youngman, guns themselves are not the root cause.

“There’s no reason to think attempting to reduce the number of guns would be successful, you have to look at what’s different in the areas where most of the gun violence takes place. It’s poverty.”

The proposals to make firearms safer by the manufacture and mass-distribution of smart guns is also opposed by even law enforcement and the military. Proximity devices required to operate these weapons are not reliable at best.

“The real obstacle is … if you’re talking about homicides and you compare it to how we made drastic reductions in automobile deaths, we made the product safer and changed the way people drive. Where the model doesn’t fit is nobody goes out driving intending to have an accident.”

Guns, compared to cars, were made with an intention to maim or injure — with killing as its ultimate usage.

From the information that was gathered in the study, it looks like what the Democrats need to work on more is alleviating poverty and providing more opportunities to struggling communities — and keep Americans from becoming desperate enough to use guns for evil.

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