America’s Deadly Gun Addiction, by the Numbers
Facts on the table, the good news is good laws do make a difference.
Aurora. Newtown. San Bernardino. And now Kalamazoo. Mass shootings have become sickeningly routine in the US, each resulting in outpourings of grief and calls for more robust gun control—countered by arguments that the problem is everything but the guns. However, the data is irrefutable: The US is home to more firearms than adults; more people own guns here than in any other nation; and the US is also host to more gun deaths per capita than any other advanced country. In January, President Obama stood before the nation, wiping away tears, and pledged to increase the number of background checks. It’s proven: Laws help, as evidenced by lower rates of gun deaths in states with stricter firearm laws. The gun lobby begs to differ, though, and every background check in the world can’t ensure that a nine millimeter passed down through generations won’t prematurely end someone’s life. Here’s the shocking data behind America’s problem with gun violence.
1. USA Is #1 in Civilian Gun Owners
Civilians own three-quarters of the world’s firearms, and Americans have more than anybody else.
2. But Despite That—and an Endless Gun Supply—US Firearm Deaths Remain Flat
The number of new firearms available in the US has more than tripled in the past 15 years. In 2013, US companies manufactured almost 11 million guns. About 4 percent were exported, while 5.5 million firearms were imported from Austria and other countries. Firearms are considered durable goods, and a gun produced 70 years ago will generally function as well as one made yesterday. But that glut of weaponry has not resulted in a subsequent spike in gun deaths.
3. Still, the US Ranks Worst Among Advanced Countries—With Some Unenviable Peers
While the US doesn’t have the most gun deaths per capita, it’s up there with some of the planet’s deadliest places. Here’s a sampling of annual firearm death rates worldwide.
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