Guns and gun violence in the United States are especially sensitive topics. There’s no getting around that. However, it’s hard to deny guns and gun ownership make a heavy impact on our society, and unfortunately, much of that is disturbing and very costly. Using data from peer-reviewed journals, we’re going to present some tough-to-read gun violence facts. It’ll be hard to stomach but hopefully, it’ll help you better understand the situation we face in the United States. Here are 25 Disturbing Facts About Gun Violence You Won’t Want To Believe.
The number of firearm victims is staggering.
In 2011, 467,321 people were victims of a crime with a firearm, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. The FBI showed 68 percent of murders involved a firearm in the same year.
There are more guns in the United States than people.
There’s no denying the United States has a massive amount of guns among the civilian population. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, 350 million guns are in circulation in the US. That’s 113 guns for every 100 people.
More guns means more suicides.
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2013, 21,175 people committed suicide by firearm, a significant increase since 2006. It was the 10th leading cause of death in that year.
More guns means more homicides.
Two out of three homicide victims in America die from firearms. A study from 2001 to 2003 by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that states with higher rates of gun ownership in the home consequently had much higher homicide rates of men, women, and children.
More people die by guns than cars.
According to the CDC, in 2015, more people died from guns than automobile accidents. 36,161 people died from vehicles while 36,252 died from firearms.
Gang related homicide is greatest with firearms.
According to a report by the CDC, 90% of gang-related homicides are with a firearm. Usually, the homicides are public drive-by shootings. Young people, ages 15 to 19, living in high population cities are especially at risk from this kind of violence.
Guns are stolen all the time.
In a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, in a six-year period, 1.4 million firearms were stolen from a home due to burglary and other property crimes. 80% of the guns stolen had not been recovered since the report had been made.
Handguns are the most common stolen gun.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, handguns account for 63% of firearms stolen in burglaries. On average, 39,210 handguns were stolen in a six-year period.
Many Americans carry handguns in public.
In a report by the American Public Health Association published in 2015, 9 million Americans carry loaded handguns every month and 3 million of them do it every day. They reported protection as the main reason. States with tougher laws on conceal and carry permits have fewer people carrying firearms.
Right-to-carry laws increase gun violence.
Another report in 2017 by the American Public Health Association concluded that states with “Shall-issue laws” have 6.5% higher homicide rates, 8.6% higher firearm homicide rates, and 10.6% higher handgun homicide rates.
Many crimes involving guns go unreported.
In the National Crime Victimization Survey by the U.S. Department of Justice, it concluded that 4 in 10 victims of a firearm crime went unreported. The reasons were fear of reprisal or getting the person into trouble. The total number was an average of 179,300 victims from 2006 to 2010.
More guns means more accidental deaths.
In a 19-year study by the Harvard School of Public Health, they analyzed all fifty states and their gun laws. They concluded that accidental deaths are seven times higher in the four states with the most guns in comparison to the four states with the fewest guns. They also found that unsafe gun storage greatly increased the risk of mortality.
In relationships, women are the more at risk of gun violence.
Women are at a greater risk of intimate partner violence with a firearm than men, according to a study done by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In 2005, 40% of female homicide victims were killed by a former or current intimate partner and 50% of those victims died by a firearm. Guns in the home increase this risk.
School shootings are more common than ever.
According to Everytown Research, there have been 300 school shootings in America since 2013. That’s an average of one school shooting per week.
Young people are especially at risk.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, 1.7 million children live with unlocked, loaded guns. In 2014, 2,549 children died by a gunshot wound and 13,576 were injured.
Children know where the guns are in the house.
Even if you don’t think your child knows where the firearm is in the house, they likely do. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute claimed a majority (89%) of accidental gunshot deaths of children happen in the home, mostly because they were playing with the gun.
Guns kill more black children than white.
According to a report by the CDC published in the journal Pediatrics, black children are killed the most by guns, at 3.5 for every 100,000. In comparison, that’s ten times the rate for white children. Teen boys ages 13 to 17 are also at much higher risk than younger boys and girls.
Child-Access Prevention Laws saves lives.
A study done by the RAND Corporation determined that there is supportive evidence that Child-Access Prevention Laws can save children’s lives by reducing unintentional deaths. What’s disturbing, however, is that Giffords Law Center claimed only half of the states in the country have Child-Access Prevention Laws.
States with stronger gun laws have lower gun violence.
According to a study by JAMA Internal Medicine, strong state firearm laws correlated with lower gun-related homicides and suicide. They even noted that counties outside a state with stronger firearm laws had fewer homicide rates as well.
Youth suicides are mostly caused by at-home firearms.
A study at the National Institute for Health determined that of the examined 145 youth committing suicide, 52% used handguns in their home.
Mass shootings are a mere sliver of total gun deaths.
According to a Congressional Research Service report, mass shootings, though horrific, are only a mere sliver of the total casualties to gun violence. The FBI reported that in 2011, firearms murdered 8,583 people. That’s in comparison to the 281 people that died in 38 mass shootings.
The AR-15 fires rounds faster than you'd think.
The AR-15 is an incredibly powerful weapon, especially with a high capacity magazine. According to Reuters, when the gunman at the Newton, Connecticut elementary school opened fire, he was able to shoot off 154 rounds in less than 5 minutes. He killed twenty children and six adults.
A scary number of students have lived through school shootings.
Not one child should have to live in fear of experiencing a school shooting, much less experiencing one first hand. However, per a Washington Post analysis, since Columbine, 150,000 students have experienced a shooting on campus.
The healthcare costs are staggering.
An article published in the journal Injury Epidemiology claimed that there were 30,617 annual hospital submissions due to firearm injury, and the healthcare cost was $622 million.
The US ranks number one, and it's not good.
Of the high-income and developed countries, including Canada, Japan, Norway, and South Korea, among many others, the United States ranks as number 1 for the most gun deaths. 3.61 for every 100,000 residents. In contrast, Japan has 0.01 for every 100,000.
Featured image: Shutterstock.