gun control, gun safety, gun laws

Pardini GT9.

Everyone in America wants the country to be a place where they’re safe from violence. But there’s a big difference in how people think we should achieve that goal. Some Americans think that tougher gun laws make it more difficult for people to commit heinous acts of violence. While others believe that people are safer when they have easy access to firearms to protect themselves.

A new study released by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund has found a very strong connection between a state’s gun laws and its rate of gun deaths.

The analysis concludes that states with strong gun safety policies have lower rates of fatal shootings while states with weaker gun laws have higher rates of gun deaths, including homicides, suicides and accidental killings. Everytown for Gun Safety makes a pretty clear point by ranking states from strongest gun laws to weakest.


California has the strongest gun laws and some of the lowest rates of gun deaths per 100,000 residents, at 8.5. The national average is 13.6. Conversely, Mississippi has the weakest gun laws and the highest rate of gun deaths per 100,000 residents, 28.6.

Mississippi

via Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund

“States with strong gun safety policies, such as background checks on all gun sales and extreme risk laws, have lower rates of gun violence while states with weaker gun laws, such as permitless gun carry and Stand Your Ground, have higher rates of gun violence,” Nick Suplina, senior vice president of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, told Upworthy.

Here are the top eight states when it comes to the strength of gun laws.

Top 8 states with strong gun laws

via Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund

The 8 states with the weakest gun laws

via Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund

You can see the entire list of all 50 states at the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund’s website.

"Everytown’s Gun Law Rankings shows what we have been saying for years: gun laws save lives. There is a clear and direct tie between a state's gun laws and its rate of gun deaths,” Suplina told Upworthy.

The evidence for strong gun safety laws appears to be overwhelming based on Everytown’s graph. But as any statistician will tell you, correlation doesn’t imply causation. In other words, just because states with tougher gun laws are safer doesn’t necessarily mean that strong gun laws are the sole reason that gun violence is lower.

The rankings also get a bit blurrier when one takes into account the fact that guns can move from state to state. Therefore, strong gun laws in one state can be affected by weaker laws in a neighboring state.

There is a whole host of factors that can influence the rate of gun violence in a given state, including socioeconomics, access to mental healthcare, education, social mobility and its citizens’ trust in institutions.

However, states with weaker gun laws make it easier to access firearms, and studies show that access to a firearm triples the likelihood of suicide, and a gun in the home is associated with more gun homicide.

The debate over guns has been one of the most heated fights in America’s culture wars and it won’t be solved anytime soon. But we all want what’s best for the country and to come to some effective agreement on how to do so we have to start with the facts. Everytown for Gun Safety has made a very compelling argument for stronger gun control laws across the country; it’ll be interesting to see if its opponents can muster any counterarguments that come close.










Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.