Amnesty International says US gun violence ‘human rights crisis’
The gun violence situation in the United States has grown into a full blown “human rights crisis” amid inaction from the US government, says Amnesty International.
In a scathing report on Wednesday, the UK-based human rights group blasted the lack of preventive measures such as a national registration system for gun owners and loose laws that allow people to own handguns without a license or permit in 30 US states.
The report said “all aspects of American life have been compromised in some way by the unfettered access to guns, with no attempts at meaningful national regulation.”
“The US government is prioritizing gun ownership over basic human rights. While many solutions have been offered, there has been a stunning lack of political will to save lives,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA.
“Despite the huge number of guns in circulation and the sheer numbers of people killed by guns each year, there is a shocking lack of federal regulations that could save thousands,” she added.
“Our government has allowed gun violence to become a human rights crisis.”
According to the international human rights organization, an average of 106 individuals died a day from firearm-related incidents in 2016, totaling 38,658. Of that figure, nearly 23,000 were suicides and more than 14,400 were homicides, Amnesty said.
The report also said that more than 116,000 people suffered injuries from firearms in 2016.
The United States loses around 33,000 people to gun violence every year. Additionally, more than 100,000 people are shot each year in the country at a total cost of $45 billion, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs
The issue of gun violence has become all the more polarizing under President Donald Trump, a Republican whose presidential campaign was funded partially by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Trump has been reluctant to address the growing issue in his speeches and following several high-profile mass shootings in the country.
However, faced with mounting pressure, the president agreed earlier this year to sign a $1.3 trillion spending bill that included modest improvements to background checks for gun sales and grants to help schools prevent gun violence.
Gun control activists want members of the US Congress, many of whom are up for re-election this year, to ban the sale of assault weapons, making the issue a key factor in the upcoming midterm elections in early November.
“The ability to go about your daily life in security and dignity, free from fear, is at the very cornerstone of human rights. No one’s human rights can be considered secure as long as our leaders fail to do anything about gun violence,” Huang wrote.