In 2010, guns were involved in the deaths of 31,076 Americans in homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings. This breaks down to more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths each hour. There were also 73,505 Americans treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal gunshot wounds in 2010. Firearms were the third-leading cause of injury-related deaths nationwide in 2010, after poisoning and motor vehicle accidents. The United States accounts for nearly 75 percent of all murdered children in the developed world. American children are 17 times more likely to be murdered by firearms than children in other industrialized nations.
Despite the alarming numbers, gun homicide rates, along with all violent crime, peaked in 1993 and have dropped sharply over the last two decades. Compared with 1993, the firearm homicide rate dropped by 49 percent in 2010 and there were fewer deaths from violent crime, despite the nation’s growing population. The rate for other violent crimes with a firearm such as assaults, robberies, and sex crimes was down 75 percent in 2011 compared to 1993. It is important to note, however, that violence plunged through the 1990s but has declined less significantly since 2000.
Gun Death Statistics
- In 2010, guns were involved in 11,078 homicides in the United States. This number accounted for almost 35 percent of all gun deaths and more than 68 percent of all homicides.
- Between 2005 and 2010 there was an average of 33 gun homicides each day.
- In 2010, guns were used in 19,392 successful suicides in the United States. This number accounted for almost 62 percent of all gun deaths.
- More than 50 percent of all suicides in the U.S. involve a firearm.
- Between 2005 and 2010 there was on average 49 gun suicides each day.
- White males represent 40 percent of the U.S. population and yet they accounted for over 80 percent of firearm suicides in 2010.
- In 2010, firearms were the weapon of choice in 44 percent of suicide deaths among people under the age of 25.
Unintentional Deaths and Injuries
- In 2010, 606 people were killed in unintentional firearm injuries.
- Between 2005 and 2010, almost 3,800 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings.
- On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of unintentional firearm deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels.
The U.S. General Accounting Office believes that 31 percent of unintentional deaths caused by firearms could be prevented by the addition of two devices: a child-proof safety lock (8 percent) and a loading indicator (23 percent).
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