Read the AP Reporting Package – When Guns Outnumber People, Which American Liberties Prevail? “American identity is deeply grounded in the belief that everyone, no matter who they are, is entitled to certain rights and liberties. But what happens when one of those freedoms – a nearly unfettered right to own guns – upends the calculus that safeguards others? In recent years, U.S. courts have embraced an increasingly absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment, adding to the proliferation of firearms – now almost 400 million in civilian hands, according to one widely cited count – and the thousands of shootings they enable. To many Americans, that violence feels like a growing threat to some of the freedoms that give meaning to everyday life. The right to worship in peace. To go to school. To “the pursuit of happiness” that the nation’s founders so prized. To many of their fellow Americans, equally weary of menace, the right to guns is an essential means of protecting precious liberties. And the tension between those beliefs is rising. How can the freedoms Americans cherish be protected when the threat of mass shootings, neighborhood violence and self-harm casts such a long shadow? With friction mounting, many are struggling for answers.
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