Patterns of Gun Violence in the United States

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Mass casualty shootings in public places
have occurred regularly in the United States in recent years, prompting action
from government, but deaths from mass shootings actually make up a very small
percentage of firearm-related deaths in the US. So what does firearm violence
in the US actually look like? To inform public debate and to help guide
legislation on the prevention of firearm-related deaths and injuries, it
is instructive to consider the epidemiology of firearm violence over
the past decade. The first thing to note is that, compared with other nations, the
United States is an outlier in mortality from firearm violence. Its rates
of firearm homicide and suicide both substantially exceed those for the other
industrialized nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development, the OECD. This finding is not likely due to a predisposition to
violence in the United States, however, because, among those same OECD nations,
the US ranks near the bottom in its prevalence of self-reported assault. The
most recent data available revealed that between 2003 and 2012 more than 300,000
people died from firearm-related injuries in the United States. That’s
more than the number of US combat-related deaths in World War 2 and more
than the total death count for all other US wars combined. And while the overall
fatality rate from firearm violence remained constant between 2003 and 2012, at almost 10 deaths per 100,000 persons per year, this stability masks a notable divergence.
Firearm homicides have decreased since 2006, while suicides have risen by the
same amount. Suicide has been the most common form of fatal gun violence over
the past 30 years and in 2012 accounted for 64% of fatal firearm violence. Gun homicide is concentrated to a remarkable
degree among black males, especially young black men. In 2012, the gun homicide
rate for black males aged 20 to 29 was almost 18 deaths per 100,000 persons,
which is five times higher than that for Hispanic males and 20 times higher than
that for white males. The pattern for firearm homicide among
females is similar to that for males, but the rates are lower by a factor of 10. Black females aged 20 to 24 had the
highest mortality rate in 2012, with approximately 7.5 deaths per 100,000
persons. The risk of gun suicide on the other hand is highest among white males.
In 2012, suicide rates for white males peaked at 40 deaths per 100,000 persons
among eighty to eighty-four year olds, while the rate for Hispanic men was
below 15 and that for black men was below 10 per 100,000 persons. Between 1999 and
2012, the death rate due to firearms increased among white males aged 35 to
64 by almost 36 percent. White females are similarly more prone to firearm
suicide than black or Hispanic females, although the number of cases is lower
than male cases by a factor of 10. It peaks at 4.5 per 100,000 persons among
white women aged 45 to 55. The societal costs of firearm suicides and homicides
are enormous. For 2010, the estimated cost was 164.6 billion dollars,
approximately 1.1 percent of the US gross domestic product for that year.
While there are many factors associated with the risk of death from firearm
violence, the most widespread appears to be gun ownership. The US is home to more
than 50 million firearm owners. Approximately 35 percent of men and 11
percent of women report owning firearms. Further research on the nature and
prevention of firearm violence is sorely needed. Evidence-based interventions may
lead to substantial reductions in death and disability from this important
public health problem.


  1. I just love how any statistic the gun control movement cites ONLY include developed countries comparisons and gun deaths. Totally forget the third world gun violence since it dwarfs the us and don't mention the huge rates of violence through other means such as knife attacks or assaults….

  2. The high firearm suicide rate among older Americans likely stems from the lack of legal medically assisted suicide. For some odd reason the U.S. government feels perfectly justified in forcing people to stay on the planet as long as possible despite their wishes. Yes, many suicide attempts, especially in young people, are impulses that do not result in second attempts should the first attempt fail. Older people generally are less prone to impulses due to more complete brain development. I am absolutely opposed to forcing an adult to live out a miserable, pain ridden life because society is terrified of death. Lacking legal options, many people are forced to exit their miserable lives by way of a gun.

  3. Because the Communist Democrats need to force us to pay them, because they are lame as hell. They are not able to produce so they terrorize and there is always an idiot willing.

  4. Capitalists say “we must create jobs” even if making weapons continuously, so when we end capitalism we can eliminate all jobs and work that now exist. Then people who once made cars and weapons can leave those jobs and won’t become homeless they won’t need to earn their income with Socialism because when all people own all things everything will be free. Then no one will get depressed about being unable to find jobs & won’t ever think of Suicide, or commit a crime. Capitalism is like a Beast that keeps his foot on the hose of prosperity worldwide. And that beast is hard to kill, but not impossible. We will destroy it soon because most money is just numbers in computers.

  5. Fake news: included gun suicide for us which has a over all very low suicide rate, yet did not include suicide when comparing over all violence in other countries, they even include police shootings and 80% of actual gun violence are in places in the us with the most restrictions on gun ownership and low gun ownership rates

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