Gun statistics in a country where 100,000 people get shot every year
Just like some of my colleagues, I grow tired of arguing with gun enthusiasts about facts and figures. It doesn’t matter how much you can prove the Earth is round, for the people who put faith in their beliefs, the Earth will always be flat.
So instead of arguing about gun safety, the destructiveness of an outdated second amendment and the thousands of casualties it causes, I thought I’d simply present the American firearm statistics behind it.
Who are the Owners of Firearms?
Half of the civilian owned firearms in the world belong to American citizens. Among the 178 countries surveyed in 2007, the United States owns nearly twice as many firearms per capita than its nearest counterparts (Serbia & Yemen). As of 2014, the US has 97 guns for every 100 people.
Despite popular belief, the share of American households with guns is on the decline. In fact according to the New York Times, gun ownership has dropped steadily since the 1970s. In 1973, 50% of American families owned a gun. In the 1990s the number was reduced to 43% and by 2012 the number was reduced further to 34%.
Meanwhile firearm sales continue to go through the roof. As the previous paragraph suggests, more people aren’t buying guns, gun owners are simply buying more of them. Predominantly during Democratic presidencies. With huge spikes coming at the beginning of Clinton and Obama’s first term, you would think the NRA is secretly trying to get Democrats elected.
Who are the Victims of Firearms?
I recently read an article in Forbes that claimed gun related homicides are falling drastically. Nonsense if you look where this fool gathered his data. He started off in 1993 when gun violence was at an all-time high (especially in California). If you go back another twenty years you’ll see the gun homicide rate hasn’t changed significantly in either direction overall.
Other than a five year span in the early nineties, fatalities of firearms have normally numbered around 10,000, give or take. When you take in gun related suicides into account, the number always triples to around 30,000.
Although the Homicide rate hasn’t changed much, or even if it has decreased a little lately, the violence has gone up. Since 2001 the number of wounded as a result of firearms has increased steadily with population growth. In 2011, the number of firearm related injuries was 73,833.
When you add it all up, over 100,000 Americans get shot every year.
Another unfortunate statistic that must now be included in these types of reports is the amount of mass shootings the country sees. According to Mother Jones, mass shootings have increased dramatically over the last decade and it peaked in 2012 (which is the last year of data.)
How does the United States Compare to others?
The United States has one of the highest gun related homicide rates on earth and the highest in the developed world. As I mentioned earlier, the US also has the most guns.
It should also be pointed out that the United States is still the biggest exporter of weapons in the world. US exports of weapons nearly doubled their closest rival (Russia) between 2008-2011.
What are the solutions?
If you live outside the United States the solutions are rather simple. Many of us argue that it is the amount of poverty/inequality combined with the “right” to bear arms itself. We understand that freedom does not come from owning a gun, freedom comes from knowing you don’t need one.
For those that live in the United States, the issue is a little more complex, but I can tell you this; a majority of Americans support some basic gun control measures. More than half support an assault weapons ban and high capacity magazines while almost 90% support universal background check. You can argue whether it will help bring down the level of gun violence, but it is the will of the people.