The latest school shooting in Texas has reignited the classic US debate on gun laws. But why do Americans buy such dangerous firearms?

Gun laws in individual states are known to heavily influence ownership patterns. Another factor is the party in power. States that are in Democratic control tend to issue fewer federal permits while Republican states are less rigid.

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Texas, rattled by one of the worst mass shootings in the last decade, had issued 10,06,555 licenses as of 2021. More than 45% of adults said that they live in a house with guns, NBC News reported. Florida also has similar statistics.

Rhode Island ranked at the bottom of the list. The state, considered to be a Democratic stronghold, had issued 4,887 licenses in 2021, the lowest in the entire country.

Why is gun ownership so popular in the United States?

In a study conducted in 2019, a majority of Americans said that “personal protection” was the reason they decided to purchase a firearm. While some dismissed it as an open-ended question, 40% of Americans said they wanted to own a gun for hunting in a Gallup survey, as cited by Pew Research. Around 6% said that their gun was an antique or a family heirloom while 5% said it was related to their line of work.

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Are gun laws getting any stricter?

Gun laws have always been a sore point in the US Congress’ legislative practices and most of the changes are only brought to life through executive orders. However, these are known to have very little and temporary impact.

Former US President Barack Obama signed a handful of executive orders in 2016 that expanded background checks, marking the last major breakthrough.