HC Statistics Public Health

Statistics you need to know: Firearm-related mortality

The U.S. has a gun problem. A paper by Goldstick et al. (2019) use data from the CDC’s Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) tool and find that:

Rates of firearm homicides, suicides, and unintentional deaths in the US are 25.2, 8.0, and 6.2 times higher, respectively, than rates in other developed countries… There were 497,627 firearm deaths in 1999– 2014 (10.4 per 100,000 person-years), of which 291,623 (58.6 percent) were suicides and 191,531 (38.5 percent) were homicides. There were 114,683 firearm deaths in 2015–17 (11.8 per 100,000 person-years—a 13.8 percent increase from 1999–2014), of which 68,810 (60.0 percent) were suicides and 43,483 (37.9 percent) were homicides.

Thus, clearly there is a problem with firearm-related mortality. Gun control activists would say the issue is that there are too many guns on the street. Those fighting for gun rights would argue that other factors are causing people to use guns to cause harm rather than to protect oneself. Regardless, these figures are clearly too high and we need an honest debate about what can be done to bring down gun-related homicides and suicides.


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