This study was performed in 2019 on gun violence data from 2015. Source: Violent death rates in the US compared to those of the other high-income countries, 2015/2019 Erin Grinshteyn, David Hemenway
Shining a Light on Gun Violence
America has the most gun violence in the world
We envision a better future, free from gun violence
Gun Violence in America
The United States has the highest rate of gun violence in the world. No matter how you measure gun violence, by gun deaths, gun death rate per capita, homicides, suicides, youth and teen deaths, domestic violence deaths or non-white deaths by guns, the US leads the world by a very large margin. The numbers are overwhelming.
It is no coincidence that the US also leads the world in guns owned by civilians by a very large margin. Almost half of the world's guns are owned by Americans who make up just 4% of the world's population. And the problem is getting worse. Gun violence and gun purchases have both surged in 2020 to all-time highs.
We envision a better future. One free from gun violence. Our mission is to shine a light on gun violence and work towards a future free from gun violence.
Gun Deaths in America
Over 43,000 Americans died from gun violence last year. Over 100 Americans die every day.
Highest Gun Violence in the World
The US has the highest gun violence in the world, 11 times the gun death rate of 28 comparable countries combined.
US has Half of the World's Guns
With only 4% of the world's population, the US has 46% of the world's guns.
US Gun Sales Increase Dramatically
More guns were sold in the US in 2020 than any year in US history by a wide margin.
More Guns = More Gun Violence
States with more guns have more gun violence. Countries with more guns have more gun violence.
US Mass Shootings Happen Daily
Over 400 mass shootings happen every year in the US. Over one per day.
Over 43,000 Americans were killed by gun violence last year. That's over 100 gun deaths per day, or one gun death every 15 minutes. 60% of gun deaths are suicides. 40% are homicides or accidental deaths. The number of US gun deaths has risen 29% from six years ago. The problem is getting worse.
America has the World's Highest Rate of Gun Deaths
The US has the world's highest gun death rate of eleven gun deaths per 100,000 people per year. This is by far the highest gun death rate of any comparable country in the world, and is four times higher than the second highest country of Switzerland.
World's Highest Rate of Gun Homicides
The gun homicide rate in the US is drastically higher than every other comparable country. Chile is second, but is still less than half of the US gun homicide rate. The US gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than other comparable countries combined.
100 Americans Die Every Day from Gun Violence
More Guns than Americans
The US has by far the most guns of any country in the world, more guns than people living in America. As of 2020, the US has about 330M people living in the country, but it has about 380M guns in the country. More than one gun per person. No other country comes even close to this many guns or this many guns per person.
US Gun Sales on the Rise
US gun sales have been steadily rising for the last 10 years. More guns are purchased in the US every year with the exception of 2017-2019, which were largely flat compared to previous years. In 2020, gun sales in the US rose dramatically to over 22M guns sold, the highest number in history by far. Some factors driving gun sales in America are:
Gun sales are highly seasonal, peaking in the fall leading up to the holidays, and generally lowest during late spring and summer. Play video graph below to see how gun sales are increasing in America.
More Guns = More Violence
There is little doubt that more guns result in more gun violence. Regions with higher gun ownership are regions with higher gun violence. Conversely, regions with lower gun ownership are regions with lower gun violence. The result is the same whether you look at regions within the US by state, or globally by country, or whether you measure the amount of guns as guns per person, or % of population who own a gun. More guns results in more gun violence.
Within the US, Alaska has the highest rate of gun deaths of 22 per 100,000 people per year. The top ten US states with the highest gun ownership show a pretty good correlation with the highest gun violence states. Of the nine states with the highest gun death rates, seven of them are also in the top ten states for gun ownership. Conversely, of the eleven states with the lowest gun death rates, seven of them are also in the bottom ten states for gun ownership.
Massachusetts has the lowest level of gun violence for any US state, but that does not make it "safe." Its gun death rate of 3.3 per 100,000 people per year is higher than every other comparable country to the US. Switzerland comes closest at 2.8 gun deaths per 100,000 people per year.
More Guns = More Violence Globally
The same correlation of more guns result in more gun violence applies globally as well. The US leads the world in guns per capita at 1.2 guns per person. And it leads the world in highest rate of gun deaths at 11 per 100,000 people. In examining other countries, a high guns per capita rate does correspond to a high rate of gun deaths. Of the top five countries with the highest number of guns per capita (excluding the US), three of them are in the top five in gun death rates. And the five lowest countries in guns per capita directly correspond to the five lowest gun death rates. Chile is an outlier as it has a mid-level of guns per capita, but is top give in gun death rate.
Mass Shootings in America
Mass shootings surged in 2020 to over 600 during the year. Mass shootings get a tremendous amount of attention due to their horrific nature and often result in protests around the country for sensible gun laws. But as awful as mass shootings are, they represent about only about 1% of the total gun deaths in the US every year. And they happen much more frequently than most realize, with over one mass shooting per day in 2020 (defined by Gun Violence Archive as 4 or more victims not including the shooter). Gun violence in America is so widespread, that eliminating all mass shootings, although a highly worthy cause, would not reduce gun violence significantly.
Like many, we were shocked by senseless mass shootings such as Parkland, El Paso and Las Vegas, which caused horrific loss of life due to one person armed with guns. We were equally shocked by the complete and total inaction of the government to do anything to prevent more mass shootings from happening.
As we did more research on gun violence in America, we found that mass shootings, as horrific as they are, were just the tip of the iceberg of gun violence in America. And shootings and homicides by assault weapons, while shocking, were tiny compared to the massive number of shootings committed with handguns. Mass shootings should be eliminated and banning high-capacity assault weapons would be a good start. But the problem of gun violence in America is much, much worse.
Free From Gun Violence is a non-profit that was founded to broaden public knowledge on the extent of gun violence in America. We will work to build a future for our country that is Free From Gun Violence.
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