Gun Violence in America

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August 8, 2018



Every day, 96 Americans are killed with guns and hundreds more are shot and injured. The effects of gun violence extend far beyond these casualties—gun violence shapes the lives of millions of Americans who witness it, know someone who was shot, or live in fear of the next shooting.

In order to illustrate the magnitude of everyday gun violence, Everytown has gathered the most comprehensive, publicly available data. Still, significant data gaps remain—a result of underfunded, incomplete data collection at the state and federal level. Filling these gaps is necessary to truly understand the full impact of gun violence in the United States.

GUN DEATHS & INJURIES BY INTENT

GUN DEATHS BY INTENTCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports. Data reflect a 5 year average (2012-2016) of gun deaths by intent. While it is broadly considered to be the most comprehensive firearm fatal injury source, two of the intent categories—Shootings by law enforcement and Unintentional Deaths—are estimated to be greatly underreported. This underreporting is largely due to missing information on death certificates, which may result in misclassification of intent. Multiple media sources and nonprofit groups have tracked shootings by law enforcement but no reliable public database captures unintentional shootings.

GUN INJURIES BY INTENTCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Nonfatal Injury Reports. Data reflect a 5 year average (2012-2016) of gun deaths by intent.

*Note: This intent category is believed to be underreported and is likely being misclassified as homicide.Loftin C, Wiersema B, McDowall D, Dobrin A. Underreporting of justifiable homicides committed by police officers in the United States, 1976-1998. American Journal of Public Health. 2003; 93(7): 1117-1121.
See also: Barber C, Azrael D, Cohen A, Miller M, et al. Homicides by police: Comparing counts from the National Violent Death Reporting System, Vital Statistics, and Supplementary Homicide Reports. American Journal of Public Health. 2016; 106(5): 922-927.
The Washington Post’s database is widely cited and estimates that 982 civilians are fatally shot by police in an average year—more than twice as many as recorded by the CDC.Fatal Force. Washington Post. Fatal Force. Data reflects a 3 year average (2015-2017) of gun deaths by intent. https://wapo.st/2KN8DNS.

GUN SUICIDE

  • Nearly two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports. Data reflect a 5 year average (2012-2016) of gun deaths by intent. The U.S. gun suicide rate is eight times that of other high-income countries.Grinshteyn E, Hemenway D. Violent death rates: The U.S. compared with other high-income OECD countries, 2010. The American Journal of Medicine. 2016; 129(3): 266-273.
  • Access to a gun increases the risk of death by suicide by three times.Anglemyer A, Horvath T, Rutherford G. The accessibility of firearms and risk for suicide and homicide victimization among household members: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014; 160(2): 101-110. Gun suicides are concentrated in states with high rates of gun ownership.Opoliner A, Azrael D, Barber C, Fitzmaurice G, Miller M. Explaining geographic patterns of suicide in the U.S.: The role of firearms and antidepressants. Injury Epidemiology. 2014; 1(1): 6.
  • Most people who attempt suicide do not die—unless they use a gun. Across all suicide attempts not involving a firearm, less than five percent will result in death.Miller M, Azrael D, Barber C. Suicide mortality in the United States: The importance of attending to method in understanding population-level disparities in the burden of suicide. Annual Review of Public Health. 2012; 33: 393-408. But for gun suicides, those statistics are flipped: approximately 85 percent of gun suicide attempts end in death.Id.
  • White men represent 75 percent of firearm suicide victims in America.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports. Data reflect a 5 year average (2012-2016) of gun deaths by intent. White men defined as non-Hispanic white.

GUN HOMICIDE

  • One-third of gun deaths are homicides.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports. Data reflect a 5 year average (2012-2016) of gun deaths by homicide, including legal intervention. The U.S. gun homicide rate is 25 times that of other high-income countries.Grinshteyn E, Hemenway D. Violent death rates: The U.S. compared with other high-income OECD countries, 2010. The American Journal of Medicine. 2016; 129(3): 266-273.
  • Access to a gun increases the risk of death by homicide by two times.Anglemyer A, Horvath T, Rutherford G. The accessibility of firearms and risk for suicide and homicide victimization among household members: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014; 160(2): 101-110.
  • Gun homicides are concentrated in cities—half of all gun homicides took place in just 127 cities, which represented nearly a quarter of the U.S. population.Aufrichtig A, Beckett L, Diehm J, Lartey J. Want to fix gun violence in America? Go local. The Guardian. January 9, 2017. https://bit.ly/2i6kaKw. Within these cities, gun homicides are most prevalent in racially segregated neighborhoods with high rates of poverty.Id.
  • Black Americans represent the majority of gun homicide victims.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports. Data reflect a 5 year average (2012-2016) of gun deaths by race. Analysis includes: all ages, non-Hispanic only, and homicide including legal intervention. In fact, Black Americans are 10 times more likely than white Americans to die by gun homicide.Id.
Homicide

GUN ASSAULTS

  • Three-quarters of nonfatal gun injuries are caused by assaults.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Nonfatal Injury Reports. Data reflect a 5 year average (2012-2016) of gun deaths by intent.
  • Black males are 16 times more likely than white males to be shot and injured in assaults involving guns.Id. Analysis includes: males of all ages, non-Hispanic only, and homicide including legal intervention.
gun assaults

CHILDREN AND TEENS

  • Firearms are the second leading cause of death for American children and teens and the first leading cause of death for Black children and teens.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports, Leading Causes of Death, United States. Data from 2016. Children and teenagers aged 1-19, Black defined as non-Hispanic, number of deaths by known intent (homicide, suicide, unintentional deaths). Age 0-1 calculated separately by the CDC because leading causes of death for newborns and infants are specific to the age group. See also: Heron M. Deaths: Leading causes for 2015. National Vital Statistics Reports, Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017; 66(5).
  • Nearly 1,600 children and teens die by gun homicide every year.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports. Data reflect a 5 year average: 2012-2016. Analysis includes: ages 0-19, and homicide including legal intervention. For children under the age of 13, these gun homicides most frequently occur in the home and are often connected to domestic or family violence.Fowler KA, Dahlberg LL, Haileyesus T, Gutierrez C, Bacon S. Childhood firearm injuries in the United States. American Academy of Pediatrics. 2017; 140(1): e20163486.
  • Black children and teens are 15 times more likely than white children and teens of the same age to die by gun homicide.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports. Data reflect a 5 year average (2012-2016) of gun deaths by race. Analysis includes: ages 0-19, and non-Hispanic only and homicide including legal intervention.
2nd leading cause of death

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

  • Women in the U.S. are 16 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries.Grinshteyn E, Hemenway D. Violent death rates: The U.S. compared with other high-income OECD countries, 2010. The American Journal of Medicine. 2016; 129(3): 266-273.
  • In an average month, 50 American women are shot to death by an intimate partner,Uniform Crime Reporting Program: Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR), 2012-2016. Washington, DC: Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. While the FBI SHR does not include data from the state of Florida for the years 2012-2016, Everytown obtained data directly from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and included the reported homicides in the analysis. Whereas SHR includes both current and former partners in its relationship designations, FDLE does not include former partners. As a result, Florida's intimate partner violence data only includes current partners. and many more are injured.
  • Nearly one million women alive today have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner.Sorenson SB, Schut RA. Nonfatal gun use in intimate partner violence: A systematic review of the literature. Trauma, Violence & Abuse. 2016; 1524838016668589. Approximately 4.5 million American women alive today have been threatened with a gun by an intimate partner.Id. See also: Tjaden P, Thoennes T. Full report of the prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. National Institute of Justice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2000.
  • Access to a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed.Campbell JC, Webster D, Koziol-McLain J, et al. Risk factors for femicide in abusive relationships: Results from a multisite case control study. American Journal of Public Health. 2003; 93(7): 1089-1097.
  • Black women are twice as likely to be fatally shot by an intimate partner compared to white women.Uniform Crime Reporting Program: Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR), 2012-2016. See endnote 26. Analysis includes homicides involving an intimate partner and a firearm, and compares the crude death rates for Black women (0.63 per 100,000) versus white women (0.34 per 100,000) (all ages included; Hispanic and non-Hispanic women included).
1 million women

IMPACT ON AMERICANS

  • Approximately 44 percent of American adults report knowing someone who has been shot and nearly 25 percent report that they or someone in their family have been threatened or intimidated by someone using a gun.Parker K, Horowitz JM, Igielnik R, Oliphant B, Brown A. America's complex relationship with guns: An in-depth look at the attitudes and experiences of U.S. adults. June 22, 2017. Pew Research Center's Social & Democratic Trends Project. https://pewrsr.ch/2txQZSP.
  • Approximately three million American children witness gun violence every year.Finkelhor D, Turner HA, Shattuck A, Hamby SL. Prevalence of childhood exposure to violence, crime, and abuse: Results from the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence. The Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics. 2015; 169(8): 746-754. Everytown analysis derives the 3 million number by multiplying the share of children (ages 0-17) who are exposed to shootings per year (4.2%) by the total child population of the U.S. in 2016 (~73.5M).
44 percent adults



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