The Disturbing Facts of Gun Violence in America
Gun ownership and gun control are heated debate subjects on the news regularly. Although everyone has a different opinion and a unique approach to solving the problem of gun violence, everyone wants the same thing; a country that is safe for us all.
America Owns Nearly Half The World’s Civilian Guns
It might surprise you to learn that Americans own more than half the world’s civilian guns. Accordingly, gun violence in the United States is way out of proportion to other countries and claims the lives of thousands of people each year.
The figures are quite startling in that even as far back as 2007; the ratio was almost one gun owned per American. Since then that figure has risen considerably.
To put perspective on that figure, America is equal to about 5% of the total world population, and yet Americans own about 42% of all the guns in the world.
Gun Deaths and Injuries in America: The Numbers
Compared to other nations, gun-related murders are 25% more prevalent in America than other high-income countries. America incurs six times more homicides than Canada, sixteen times as many gun-related deaths as Germany and seven times the murders than Sweden.
Most of the gun violence that takes place in the U.S. occurs in low-income, cities, and areas where gangs exist. Young males are the majority of the perpetrators of gun violence. Although mass shootings also weigh into the equation, they are a small fraction of the problem and account for less than 2% of the gun-related deaths in America.
The stats for gun violence in the United States is staggering:
- 96 Americans are killed each day by guns.
- Each day 222 people are shot and injured but survive.
- An average of 13,000 homicides takes place in America each year.
- Each month in America about 50 women are shot by their domestic partner.
- 62% of gun-related deaths in America are suicides.
- Background checks have prevented the sale of 3 million guns to people not fit to own them.
- African American males are 13 times more likely to be killed with a gun than white men.
- 46 kids and teens are shot every day in murders, suicides, assaults, police interventions and accidental shootings.
- On average seven children or teens are killed each day by gun violence, four from homicide and three more from suicide.
- 40 children per day are shot and injured.
- Two more people are injured by gun-violence for every one person killed.
- If there is a gun in the household, a woman is five times more likely to be shot and killed.
Mass Shooting Statistics in the US
Mass shooting incidents have been all over the news in recent years and although they represent a small fraction of the gun-related deaths they are becoming more of a factor each year. Some of the statistics to support this increase are:
- 1,624 mass shooting incidents have occurred in the past 1,870 days. This figure equates to a shooting happening 9 out of every ten days.
- California has had 23 shooter incidents, more than any other state.
- 1,081 people have been killed in America in mass shooter incidents, 176 were children and teens.
- 154 total shooters - although most mass shooters are male adults, some have been young adults, and only three were women. 88 of the shooters died at the scene.
- 293 guns were used in mass shooting incidents, one shooter, in particular, used 24 guns.
- 167 of the guns used were obtained legally.
- 50 of the weapons used were obtained illegally.
- It is unclear how the other 76 were obtained.
- The oldest victim of a mass shooting was 98, and the youngest was eight months old.
- Most mass shooter incidents take place in retail businesses, restaurants or offices.
The Impact of Gun Violence on Children and Teenagers
The impact of gun violence on children and teenagers is alarming. There is an argument that having access to a firearm significantly increased the risk of homicide or suicide in America.
On average 47 children in America are shot every single day. 2700 of them die in gun-related violence, and another 14,000 are injured but survive. Gun violence in America is a dangerous and unique problem for the children growing up here.
- Gun-related death is the 3rd leading cause of death for kids and teens in America.
- American children, age 5-14 are 14 times more likely to be killed by gun violence than in other countries.
- Children ages 15-24 are 23% more likely to die from gun-related violence.
- 60% of these deaths are due to homicide (more than 1,600/year). Most are due to domestic violence in the home.
- The other 35% are suicides, which total about 900 a year. 80% of the guns used in these suicides belong to a parent or relative.
- Black youths are four times as likely to be affected by gun violence than white kids.
- An average of 3 million kids and teens witness shootings a year.
Exposure to gun violence affects children and teens dramatically and often leads to depression, drug abuse, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illness. Children who are affected do poorly in school and sometimes have criminal records themselves. To learn more about gun-related facts and statistics in the US check out this infographic.
US Gun Laws and Policies
America’s gun laws are spread throughout federal statutes to monitor and control the possession, sale, transfer, transportation, manufacture, record keeping, trade and destruction of firearms. Each state may have its own additional laws related to guns beyond what the federal government mandates.
Confusing the issue is the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States that guarantees every American the right to keep and bear arms. This promise combined with the laws to keep Americans safe generates a lot of heated debate with strong opinions that cross political and demographic lines.
Firearms and Crime Statistics
Gun violence accounts for a large percentage of the crimes committed in America. 68% of all murders in the U.S. were gun-related, 41% of all robberies included an armed heaped, and 21% of aggravated assault charges include guns.
In households with domestic violence, if there are guns present in the home, a woman is five times as likely to be killed. American women are 16 more times likely to be killed with a gun than any other high-income country. The average per day is 50 women who are shot by their domestic partners. An alarming 4.5 million women have been threatened with a gun by their intimate partners.
Another unsettling statistic is that with mass shootings 54% of the time the shooter also kills their domestic partner and sometimes other family members.
Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act: Gun Background Checks Statistics
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was created in 1993 after Jim Brady was shot and paralyzed by John Hinckley Jr. The Brady Act requires federal background checks to be performed by gun dealerships before selling firearms to civilians. The legislation also imposed a five-day waiting period for purchase but since the NICS system was put into place, that waiting period is no longer required.
More than 3 million purchases of firearms have been blocked since the Brady Act was enacted. Not only are felons prohibited from purchasing firearms but also domestic abusers, mentally ill people, and other dangerous individuals.
The Brady Act has had a significant effect on gun-related crimes.
- 48% less gun trafficking.
- 38% fewer deaths in domestic partner situations.
- A reduction of 17% fewer aggravated assault charges.
- Homicides are down 32% since the Brady Act.
- 42% fewer robberies with a loaded weapon.
Government Resources For More Information
To learn more about gun violence, firearms laws or related statistics, you can use the helpful links below:
- The Brady Campaign Gun Violence Stats - http://www.bradycampaign.org/key-gun-violence-statistics
- U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons - https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-gun-policy-global-comparisons
- Gun Violence Facts and Research - https://blog.ucsusa.org/kathleen-rest/the-disturbing-facts-of-gun-violence-research-in-the-us
- Domestic Violence and Guns - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_Violence_Offender_Gun_Ban
- Gun Violence Protection - https://nij.gov/topics/crime/gun-violence/prevention/Pages/welcome.aspx
- ATF - https://www.atf.gov/
- FBI - https://www.fbi.gov/
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service - https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Topics/Topic.aspx?topicid=87