6 Charts About Gun Violence That Put The Problem In Perspective
While research on gun violence is lacking, there's little arguing with the fact that gun violence is a serious public health concern. The American Public Health Association estimates that guns kill more than 38,000 people a year, while Everytown For Gun Safety reports that for every person killed by a gun, another two are injured. But those figures alone don't illustrate the full extent of the problem. These charts about gun violence get right to the heart of the issue, just in time for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
In an effort to raise awareness about gun violence, Everytown and its partner organizations are asking supporters to wear orange Saturday. According to three year's worth of data analyzed by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, mass shootings (defined as a single incident in which four or more people are killed or wounded) occur at least once a day.
Data on school shootings paints an equally depressing picture: More than 187,000 students have experienced a school shooting since the 1999 Columbine massacre, a Washington Post analysis found. In 2018 alone there have been 23 school shootings which resulted in injury or death, according to CNN. Visualizing numbers like these really puts the whole gun violence debate in perspective.
Half Of All U.S. Adults Say Gun Violence Is "A Very Big Problem"
According to the Pew Research Center, half of all surveyed adults reported feeling that gun violence was a "very big problem in the United States," while only 19 percent felt it was a "very big problem" in their local community. Those numbers rose when examining the responses from only non-gun owners, with 59 and 22 percent reporting gun violence to be a "very big problem" in the United States and their local community, respectively.
The U.S. Gun Murder Rate Is *Way* Above That Of Other High-Income Countries
Everytown highlighted data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which found that in 2016 the United States ranked 31st in the world in gun deaths, with 3.85 deaths per 100,000 people. While the United States didn't have the highest rate of gun deaths, its rate was eight times higher than Canada's and 27 times higher than Denmark's.
Non-Gun Owners & Gun Owners View Gun Violence Very Differently
According to Pew's Research Fact Tank, gun owners and non-gun owners in the United States are more often than not in disagreement when it comes to issues of gun policy. Areas where the two groups agree are pretty limited, but they're worth highlighting. Both gun owners and non-gun owners are largely in favor of preventing the mentally ill, as well as individuals listed on no-fly or watch lists, from being able to purchase guns. They're also both for instituting background checks for private gun sales and at gun shows, although non-gun owners are more likely to support such checks.
Teens Don't Support Arming Teachers To Prevent School Shootings
A Pew Research Center survey found that just 12 percent of surveyed teens felt that arming teachers and school officials would be "very effective" at preventing school shootings. The majority of teens instead supported proposals including preventing people with mental illnesses from purchasing a firearm, and improving mental health screening and treatment. The survey found teens appeared to be divided over the issue of placing metal detectors in schools as a preventative measure, however.
Hundreds Of Unintentional Shootings Occur In The U.S. Each Year
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 654 unintentional or accidental shootings in the United States as of May 22. In the 10 days from May 11-22 alone, the country saw at least 44 unintentional shootings. While the term gun violence tends to bring to mind homicides and mass shootings for most people, accidental and unintentional shootings are a part of the greater gun violence problem, too.
7. The U.S. Is A Huge Outlier For Gun Deaths Compared To Other Countries Like It
Sen. Patrick Leahy's office compiled statistics analyzed by the Congressional Research Service, which operates as part of the Library of Congress, into an chart comparing gun deaths, mental health, and video game usage in six countries. While they found that while the U.S. did not deviate far from the average in terms of video game consumption and mental health, it was a huge outlier when looking at gun deaths. The U.S. deviated from the average for gun deaths roughly 20 times more than its closest outlier, Canada.
America certainly has a unique relationship with guns, and it can be tough to dig into that relationship when debate on gun control often becomes emotional and divisive. But given what these charts on gun violence show, America is unlikely close the book on that debate anytime soon.