Just the Facts

Five Facts on Guns and Gun Violence

By No Labels
August 12, 2019 | Blog

After two mass shootings within 24 hours of one another last week, gun safety has once again become the center of debate in Washington. But before arriving at a solution, it is important to understand the nature of the problem. Here are five facts on gun violence in America.  

1. Americans are 25 times more likely to be shot and killed with a gun than people in other developed countries.

Almost 40,000 Americans were killed by guns in 2017, making it the highest level in 40 years.[1]No other developed country comes close. Despite being only 5% of the total global population, the U.S. constitutes 31% of all global mass shooters.[2]

2. There are more gun suicides than gun homicides in America.

While homicides and mass killings get most of the press coverage, most gun deaths are the result of suicide by firearm. In a report by Vox based on CDC data, 2/3 of all gun deaths between 1999 to 2017 were attributed to suicides.[3]

3. Handguns are the biggest killers.

Military-style assault weapons were used in major mass shootings in the Orlando nightclub and the Sandy Hook School shooting, among others, and have been banned in some states. But according to FBI data, handguns were used in 64% of U.S. murders while rifles, shotguns, other, and unknown account for the remaining 36%.[4]

4. Mass shootings are a uniquely American phenomenon

In 2018, there were a record high 97 school gun violence incidents in the U.S. –  59% higher than the previous record of 59 in 2006.[5]The U.S. population is only 5% of the total global population, yet it constitutes 31% of all global mass shooters. There have been almost 300 school shootings in the U.S. since 2009, compared to 2 in Canada, 2 in France and 1 in Germany.

5. But shootings account for a small proportion of all gun deaths.

Defined as attacks with three or more victims, mass shootings account for the smallest number of all gun deaths. In a report by CDC, of the 14,415 deaths resulting from gun homicide in 2016, 71 died in mass shootings.[6] Despite being the smallest proportion of gun deaths, mass shootings, along with school shootings remain a uniquely American phenomenon, with 110 mass shootings in the U.S. since 1982, and 288 school shootings since 2009.[7]


[1]Almost 40,000 Americans were killed by guns in 2017, making it the highest level in 40 years

[2]https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-america/

[3]https://www.vox.com/2015/10/1/18000510/gun-suicide-homicide-comparison

[4]https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41488081

[5]Incidents by year. Retrieved from https://www.chds.us/ssdb/incidents-by-year/

[6]https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41488081

[7]The Ultimate Guide to the 2020 Election: 101 nonpartisan solutions to all the issues that matter.

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