US Has Highest Gun Ownership Rate in the World

"Non Violence" (The Knotted Gun) by Carl Fredrik Reutersward, installed outside the United Nations Headquarters, NY

Guns kill people. More guns kill more people, including the most recent two classrooms of kindergarten children in Newtown, CT.

The United States counts 270,000,000 — that's two hundred and seventy million — guns among its population. That's 88 guns for every 100 people and the highest gun ownership rate in the world. The number 2 spot belongs to the violently divided country of Yemen, with 11, 500,000 guns, or 55 guns for every 100 people. See the complete chart of gun ownership by country here.

Last year the UK had 41 handgun murders; the United States had over 9,000. The US has five times as many people as the UK, but 220 times more handgun murders. The late journalist Molly Ivins remarked, "Have you ever heard of a drive-by knifing?"

The NRA (National Rifle Association) and powerful gun lobby say the answer to keep people safer is for more people to have handguns to protect themselves. Really? Our elementary school teachers and students, movie goers, church goers, shoppers and public speakers should all be packing heat?!

The 2nd Amendment calls for the right to bear arms and a well-regulated militia. This was never intended to mean people should be armed with artillery in their homes. The results of that senseless interpretation of the Bill of Rights are the chilling facts listed above. The evidence is stark and irrefutable. Insanity is doing nothing about it to protect the citizens of the United States.

It's time to enact sensible gun control laws that allow citizens to bear arms — not artillery — and require thorough background checks, waiting periods and insurance purchase in order to own firearms and ammunition. Legislators looking to save dollars by slashing mental health programs and benefits from their budgets should be aware of the much higher prices we will pay in human suffering and tragedy as mentally ill people have no services or care for their illnesses other than to act out their sickness in violent behavior.

Carol Bedrosian is the publisher of Spirit of Change holistic magazine. Visit www.spiritofchange.org for more information.