Yes, of course, you need a person (usually) to pull the trigger. But it is abundance of and ease of access to guns that causes the United States to be off the charts in woundings and killings from firearms. This is what the research has shown for a very long time and continues to show. Here, I’ll give you yet another example. All of the following text, and the tables, are exerted directly from the paper.
Paper: Mental Illness and Gun Violence: Lessons for the United States from Australia and Britain. Evans Richard, Farmer Clare, and Saligari Jessica. Violence and Gender. September 2016, 3(3): 150-156.
Abstract: In the United States, the nexus between mental illness and shootings has been the subject of heated argument. An extreme expression of one point of view is that “guns don’t kill people, the mentally ill do.” This article seeks to demonstrate the falsehood of this argument, by examining the real-world experience of two comparable societies. Australia and Great Britain are both Anglophone nations with numerous points of commonality with the United States, including high rates of mental illness and significant exposure to popular culture that perpetuates the stigma of the mentally ill as a violent threat. However, in Australia, it is difficult to obtain firearms, and a mentally ill person behaving aggressively is unlikely to be able to harm others. On the contrary, police are almost the only people routinely armed in Australian communities and are often too ready to use firearms against the mentally ill. In Britain, guns are even more difficult to obtain, and operational police are not usually armed. The authors examine statistical data on mental illness, homicide, and civilian deaths caused by police in all three nations. They also consider media and popular opinion environments. They conclude that mental illness is prevalent in all three societies, as is the damaging stigma of “the dangerous madman.” However, the fewer people (including police officers) who have access to firearms, the safer that community is.
The mental illness part:
The part about the police:
The part about the guns:
The part about the mass shootings:
Homicides and firearms related deaths in the UK, Australia, and US:
The homicide by firearm rate in each of the three countries that differ mainly in access to and abundance of guns:
Australia, Britain, and the United States are directly comparable societies. Statistical data confirm that they have similar rates of mental illness, including those forms of mental illness most likely to be associated with violent behavior. …
The significant differences among the three societies are the number of firearms in the community and whether the police are armed….
The benefits of strict gun control and unarmed police are most starkly illustrated by the differences in deaths due to police action. The population of the United States is almost five times greater than that of Britain. This means that, according to data known to be a vast underestimate (Planty et al. 2015), a US civilian is between 171 and 226 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a person living in Britain in the worst recorded year of the past decade (Teers 2015).
The contention that “guns don’t kill people, the mentally ill do” is unsustainable. Guns kill people. The fewer guns there are in a community, whether in the hands of civilians or of police, the safer that community is.