Why Americans Don't Care What The U.K. Thinks About Guns

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

It’s not necessary to point out just how different American gun laws are from those in the United Kingdom. While the two nations share a good amount in the way of culture, there are also profound differences.

One of those differences is how we approach gun rights.

For example, in the United States, we recognize gun rights as being a thing. In the U.K., they don’t.

So people in the two nations come from very different places when it comes to guns. And it doesn’t help with the British decide they need to pontificate on the issue.

The US has more guns than people.

Enshrined by the Second Amendment, gun rights have so far proved untouchable, but this comes at a deadly cost. In 2019, 38,300 people died from gun violence; statistics provided by the NPR in 2019 show that the US has a higher violent gun death rate – 3.96 per 100,000 – than Somalia, Thailand, Afghanistan, Syria, Cambodia, and Yemen.

From 16th March this year, CNN reports that there have been 45 mass shootings in the US; including four in which four or more people have died. Put simply the US has had more mass shootings in the past month than the UK has had in modern history.

It is tempting to ask how many people have to die before the US changes its gun laws.

The recent mass shootings in Atlanta, Boulder, and Indianapolis and renewed calls for stricter gun laws. Polls have found that the majority of Americans want stricter gun laws: Pew Research found that 93% of Democrats and 82% of Republicans said they favoured background checks, including at gun shows and private gun sales. A 2019 Politico poll found that 70% of Americans support an assault weapons ban, including 86% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans.

The US lags behind most of the world on enacting gun control. Most countries, when faced with mass shootings, have enacted robust gun control. In the UK, this was after Dunblane, in Australia it was Port Arthur; for New Zealand, the Christchurch massacre.

The US “lags” behind most of the world? Do we?

See, that implies that we’re all trying to get to the same place. You can say a nation lags behind in education because we all want an educated population. You can say they lag behind in healthcare because we all want a healthy population.

When everyone is trying to get to the same place, some will lag behind others.

However, despite what the polls may seem to suggest, we have no interest in following the UK down that particular rabbit hole, much less the rest of the world.

Polling suggests most Americans want gun control, but most Americans are also ignorant of just what laws are actually in place. After all, when the President of the United States lies in a speech saying you can go into a gun show and buy whatever you want with no background check, it’s safe to say a ton of Americans are being misinformed about our gun laws.

What you’ll also find, though, is that support for gun control is declining. It’s just not there like it once was, which means there’s absolutely no way we’re ever going to follow anyone on gun control.

See, part of the reason Americans don’t care what the Brits have to say about gun control is that they simply rolled over and gave up their rights and can’t fathom why we wouldn’t do the same. So many think they’re better than us because they did roll over. They’re preaching to us because they somehow think they get a say in what we do. They get to assume we want the same kind of gun control they have, which is extreme.

The thing is, we fought a couple of wars to make sure we didn’t have to give a damn what the British had to say about much of anything. We fought for our rights.

And how did we do it? We took a lot of privately-owned guns and shot those who sought to take them.

I’d say we earned the right to ignore the Brits when they start talking gun control.