SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM
How does the U.S. Compare INTERNATIONALLY?
The United States has a unique problem with firearms that is not seen in comparable countries worldwide.
rate of firearm mortality by country, 2016
Rate of Firearm Mortality per 100,000 Residents
Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network. Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 (GBD 2016) Results. Seattle, United States: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 2017. Available from http://ghdx.healthdata.org/gbd-results-tool.
HOW BIG OF A PROBLEM ARE FIREARMS IN AMERICA?
In 2016, there were 38,658 firearm related deaths. Though homicides tend to receive more media coverage, almost 23,000, or 60%, were due to suicide, and almost 15,000 were due to homicide. In addition, there were over 116,000, or over three times as many, non-fatal firearm injuries (1).
firearm mortality by intent, 2016
HOW DO FIREARMS COMPARE TO OTHER TOP CAUSES OF DEATH?
Firearm-related mortality is comparable to that of motor vehicle traffic accidents, which were responsible for only 90 more deaths in 2016 than firearms (1). While motor vehicle accident mortality rates have decreased substantially in the last decade due to many successful public health interventions, firearm mortality rates have remained largely unchanged. In 2015, age-adjusted firearm mortality rates surpassed motor vehicle mortality rates in the United States.
firearm vs motor vehicle mortality rates, 2001-2016
Age Adjusted Mortality Rate Per 100,000 Residents
who is affected?
Different demographic groups are most affected by firearms, dictated by the intent of injury. Suicide tends to affect older white men, while homicide most commonly affects younger, urban black men (2)
homicide vs. suicide deaths by race, 2016
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NCflPaC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) 2016.
(2) Wintemute, Garen J. "The epidemiology of firearm violence in the twenty-first century United States." Annual review of public health 36 (2015): 5-19.