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We don't need other countries to prove gun laws work. Our own states show the same thing.

As the U.S. grapples with a return to mass shootings, debates about gun legislation have once again taken center stage. Mass shootings tend to be a catalyst for these conversations, but they're actually only one part of the issue. The U.S. is a total outlier among high-income nations when it comes to gun violence in general. No other country even comes close to our gun death rates.

One of the most common arguments against gun legislation is that gun control laws simply don't work. Criminals don't follow laws, restrictions just punish responsible gun owners, etc.

We often look to other nations that have gun laws that appear to work. Comparisons between nations is tricky, though, and we don't even have to do that. We have plenty of evidence that gun laws work right here in our own country.

(I hear the "What about Chicago?!?" question echoing already—I promise, we'll get to that in a minute.)

In the U.S., most gun laws exist at the state level, so we have 50 sets of data we can examine to see how effective these laws are. The fact that there are no border checks between states muddies the waters a little bit (Chicago being a prime example—again, we'll get there in a minute), but there actually are significant differences in gun death rates between states.


For example, in 2019, Massachusetts had a firearm mortality rate of 3.4 deaths per 100,000 population. Alaska had 24.4 per 100,000—a full eight times higher. And the next two states on both ends come in at 3.9 and 24.2, so it's not like Massachusetts and Alaska are outliers. The death rate pretty steadily increases as you go down the firearm mortality rate list, which you can see from the CDC here.

So what does this have to do with gun laws? Well, let's take a look at the states with the highest and lowest gun death rates and see how they stack up against the gun laws in those states. (These gun law rankings come from the pro-second amendment AZ Defenders' list of "Best States for Responsible Gun Owners," based on how loose or how strict state gun laws are. The rankings for gun death rates come from the CDC.)

Among the top 10 states for strict gun laws, the top seven of them are also the top seven states for lowest gun death rates. If that's a coincidence, it's a pretty big one.

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What about the states with the least restrictive gun laws? Of the top 10 on that list, five of them are also in the top 10 for highest gun death rates.

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If you directly compare all 50 states based on of strictness of gun laws and gun death rates, the pattern couldn't be clearer. States with stricter gun legislation tend to have lower gun death rates and vice versa.

It's also worth noting that states we might expect to have high gun death rates because of their big urban centers—namely New York and California—actually have some of the lowest gun death rates in the country. And states that have mostly rural populations have the highest gun death rates. Huh.

Don't those rural states just have more guns, though? Well, yes. There is a clear correlation between the rate of gun ownership and the rate of gun deaths by state as well. (Which pretty much nixes the "If everyone had a gun, we'd all be safer" argument.)

But aren't a lot of those numbers suicides? Yes. Nearly two-thirds. Guns are absolutely the most immediate and lethal method of ending one's life, and the mere presence of a firearm in the home dramatically increases the chances of dying by suicide. Gun ownership is considered a risk factor for suicide, so if we want to reduce both suicides and gun death rates overall, we need to be honest about how the ubiquitousness of guns in the U.S. contributes to both problems and do what we can to mitigate it.

Based on the stats we've seen here, if we want to lower gun death rates in the U.S., we should either enact federal gun legislation or try to reduce the number of guns overall somehow. Personally, I think the former is preferable and more realistic.

What about Chicago, though? Don't they have super strict gun laws and super high gun death rates?

Actually, not really and not really. Chicago used to have stricter gun laws, but its firearms ban was lifted by the Supreme Court in 2010, and its concealed carry ban was lifted in 2012. And while Chicago has seen a tragic uptick in shootings this past year, a simple search shows that it hasn't even been in the top 10 cities for murder rates on any list for years. In fact, it often doesn't even make the top 20. While the numbers themselves are jarring and every shooting is a tragedy, the numbers are so large because Chicago's population is huge, not because it's the gun violence capital of the country. It's not even close.

And having lived in the Chicago area myself, I've seen firsthand how easy it is to drive 30 minutes to Indiana, where gun laws are looser than they are in Chicago or Illinois in general. In fact, according to The 2017 Gun Trace Report, the majority of guns used in crimes in Chicago come from out of state, which is all the more reason we need federal laws that cover the whole country. Having fifty different sets of laws when there are no checks at state borders is simply ludicrous if we want those laws to be the most effective.

We have plenty of evidence that gun legislation works when it's enacted and enforced across a wide geographic area. Other countries prove it. Our own states prove it. And the vast majority of Americans, including most gun owners, want it.

It's long past time to make it happen.


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The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

Celine Dion spoke directly to her fans on social media.

Celine Dion has shared the devastating news that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome.

In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.

"As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before. But I'm ready now."

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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

This week's finds include an adorable baby's first 'Dada,' an appreciative delivery driver, an angel rocking out to 'O Come, All Ye Faithful' and more.

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Ho ho ho, happy humans!

It's that time of the week again, when we gather together the most smile-worthy tidbits of the past seven days and share them with you all. As the lucky person who gets to wrap them up in a nice, shiny, virtual bow, I'm delighted to tell you that this week's list is awesome. They always are—that's kind of the point—but this week I can practically guarantee you're going to be brimming with joy by the end.

Right out of the gate, we've got baby giggles. I mean, come on. Who can resist baby giggles?

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Tenacious D performs at the Rock in Pott festival.

The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.

At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.

Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."

Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.

The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.

Warning: This video contains NSFW language.

Moms don't have to be hard to shop for. Here are gifts she'll love.

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Every year, moms put on their elf hats and become Santa's helpers. They shop for and wrap the family's presents, cook the holiday meal, organize the crafts and even set out cookies for the big guy. They're so busy making the holiday season magical for their family that oftentimes they don't get any time to rest.

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