Fact or Fiction: Gun Violence in America

America’s gun problem is complex and widespread. See how much you really know about gun violence in America:

The United States of America experiences more mass shootings - events in which four or more people died from gun violence - than any other country in the world. Excluding gang violence and terrorism there were 133 mass shootings in the United States between 2000 and 2014. Since 2011, the U.S. is averaging a mass-shooting once every two months. 

But while high-profile mass shootings get all the media coverage, they’re a very small part of America’s much larger gun problem. Here are some other numbers to wrap your mind around:

  • 92 people are killed with guns every day on average

  • Of those people, only about one person dies as part of a mass-shooting

  • Most daily gun deaths come from suicides - about 58 every day

Gun suicide is a big part of America’s gun control problem. In fact, yearly gun deaths from suicide are on the rise, while gun deaths from homicides are declining. Still, the rate of gun suicides - in which the victims are predominantly older, white males - and gun homicides - in which the victims are mostly younger, black men - are higher in the United States than in any other country.

And this doesn’t appear to have anything to do with crime rates in America. If you set aside homicide and look at rates for crimes like burglary or assault, you don’t see the same spike as you do with gun violence.

According to Vox, it’s not that America has more crime than other parts of the world; it’s that crime in the United States is much more lethal. 

From 2000-2013, the number of gun deaths in America exceeded the number of Americans who died from AIDS, drug overdoses, the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and terrorism combined. Gun violence is a uniquely American problem: there are simply more guns in America than anywhere else in the world - over 300 million guns, in fact. 

Vox’s research confirmed a pretty common-sense, though no less alarming, trend: the more guns in a country, the more gun deaths that country experiences. Likewise, in the United States, states with more guns also experience more gun deaths. So let’s return to suicides and homicides for a second.

                                 An average of 92 people die on a daily basis from gun violence in the US.  

                                 An average of 92 people die on a daily basis from gun violence in the US.

 

The correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths is strong for both suicides and homicides. Depression, fights, domestic disputes, road rage and public drunkenness are all more lethal if someone involved has a gun. 

Between mass shootings, gang violence, and suicides, there’s no “one-size fits all” solution to gun violence in the United States, because as Vox makes abundantly clear, America “doesn’t have a gun problem, it has several of them.”


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