The Newtown massacre: A year on

… National opinion polls saying that most Americans want this or that to happen to gun laws are largely useless. Guns divide Americans deeply by region, locality and—to a striking and depressing degree—by race. Americans are divided in their opinions, because their incentives and experiences are very different.

The Washington Post has published some stunning analyses of the different roles played by guns in different communities. America’s overall gun-murder rates conceal vast disparities. Whites are disproportionately hostile to gun control, in part because they are rather unlikely to face a hostile, armed shooter. Gun murder is not a serious threat for most white Americans, and is vanishingly rare in such conservative, rural states as Wyoming. Overall a white person is five times as likely to commit suicide with a gun as to be shot with a gun, the Post found. In contrast, “for each African American who uses a gun to commit suicide, five are killed by other people with guns.” Unsurprisingly, most blacks support strict gun controls. CONT.

Democracy in America, The Economist