Nearly 12,000 Americans are murdered with guns every year — a rate more than 25 times higher than that of other developed countries — and over 20,000 kill themselves with guns. Although the violent crime rate has generally decreased over the past 15 years, the gun murder rate in the U.S. has hardly changed. Because we haven’t enacted common sense gun policies that will save lives, we haven’t meaningfully reduced gun violence in America. It is high time to pass common sense public safety measures like comprehensive and enforceable background checks that will reduce gun crime and save lives.
There are nearly 12,000 gun murders a year in the U.S. – and that number has barely changed since the late 1990s. Between 1998 and 2014, gun homicides have not varied more than 11 percent in either direction from an annual average of 11,619."Fatal Injury Reports,” Injury Prevention & Control: Data & Statistics (WISQARS), accessed December 21, 2015, http://1.usa.gov/1plXBux
Gun violence disproportionately affects young people, especially young African Americans. Nationwide, a black youth under 25 years old has ten times the risk of being murdered with a gun as does a white youth of the same age."Fatal Injury Reports,” Injury Prevention & Control: Data & Statistics (WISQARS), accessed December 21, 2015, http://1.usa.gov/1plXBux
The gun suicide rate in the United States is rising. In 2014, more than 21,000 Americans killed themselves with guns. The share of gun deaths recorded by the CDC and classified as suicide has increased since 2006, from 57 percent to 63 percent.Fatal Injury Reports,” Injury Prevention & Control: Data & Statistics (WISQARS), accessed December 21, 2015, http://1.usa.gov/1plXBux
But we can prevent gun violence before it happens with strong laws and effective enforcement. In New York City, where background checks are required for all unlicensed gun sales and police are tough on people who commit gun crimes, the gun homicide rate has fallen 39 percent over the last decade.“Seven Major Felony Offenses - 2000-2014,” New York City Police Department, accessed March 30, 2016, http://on.nyc.gov/1RIUTPi. Drop is assessed with a three-year rolling average by comparing 2005-8 to 2013-15.