Gun violence

Graph showing the rate of gun deaths per capita in the United States and Australia.
Gun-related violence is violence committed with the use of a gun (firearm or small arm). Gun-related violence may or may not be considered criminal. Criminal violence includes homicide (except when and where ruled justifiable), assault with a deadly weapon, and suicide, or attempted suicide, depending on jurisdiction. Non-criminal violence includes accidental or unintentional injury and death (except perhaps in cases of criminal negligence). Also generally included in gun violence statistics are military or para-military activities.

According to, 75 percent of the world's 875 million guns are civilian controlled. Roughly half of these guns (48 percent) are in the United States, which has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world. Globally, millions are wounded and killed by the use of guns. Assault by firearm resulted in 180,000 deaths in 2013 up from 128,000 deaths in 1990. There were additionally 47,000 unintentional firearm-related deaths in 2013.

Levels of gun-related violence vary greatly among geographical regions, countries, and even subnationally. Rates of violent deaths by firearm range from as low as 0.03 and 0.04 per 100,000 population in Singapore and Japan, to 59 and 67 per 100,000 in Honduras and Venezuela. The highest rates of violent deaths by firearm in the world occur in low-income South and Central American countries such as Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Jamaica. The United States has the 11th highest rate of gun violence in the world, and by far the largest of any large or highly developed nation, having a gun homicide rate which is 25 times higher, an unintentional gun death rate which is 6 times higher, a firearm suicide rate which is 8 times higher, and an overall firearm death rate which is 10 times higher than the average respective rates of other high income nations. Compared to similarly wealthy nations with strict gun control laws, such as Japan, the United Kingdom, or South Korea, the United States has an overall rate of firearms death per capita, which is 50–100 times greater than many of its peers. The high rates of gun violence in the United States, which has the highest rate of gun-related deaths per capita among developed countries,:29 despite having the highest number of police officers, is sometimes thought to be attributable to its extreme rate of gun ownership, as it is the only nation in which guns exceed people. Nearly all studies have found a positive association between gun ownership and gun-related homicide and suicide rates.

According to the United Nations, deaths from small firearms exceed that of all other weapons combined, and more die each year from gun-related violence than did in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. The global death toll from use of guns may number as high as 1,000 dead each day.

A number of ideas have been proposed on how to lessen the incidence of gun-related violence.

Some propose keeping a gun at home to keep one safer. Studies show that guns in the home increases the number of violent death in the home. According to the FBI, gun-related violence is linked to gun ownership and is not a function or byproduct of crime. Their study indicates that more than 90% of gun-related deaths were not part of a commission of a crime, rather they were directly related to gun ownership. Some propose keeping a gun for self-defense, however Mother Jones reports that Philadelphia study found that the odds of an assault victim being shot were 4.5 times greater if he carried a gun" and that "is odds of being killed were 4.2 times greater" when armed. Other studies have concluded that firearm possession provides a deterrent benefit. "Research conducted by Professors James Wright and Peter Rossi, for a landmark study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, points to the armed citizen as possibly the most effective deterrent to crime in the nation. Wright and Rossi questioned over 1,800 felons serving time in prisons across the nation" Others propose arming civilians to counter mass shootings. FBI research shows that between 2000 and 2013 "In 5 incidents (3.1%), the shooting ended after armed individuals who were not law enforcement personnel exchanged gunfire with the shooters." Another proposal is to expand self defense laws for cases where a person is being aggressed upon, although "those policies have been linked to a 7 to 10% increase in homicides" (that is, shootings where self-defense cannot be claimed).

This page was last edited on 25 April 2018, at 22:01.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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