Gun violence statistics in the United States tell a sobering story of murder and mayhem. Between mass shootings, armed robberies, and domestic disputes, thousands of people die because of guns each year. American citizens own more firearms than any other nation by far, and America's murder rate using these guns is higher than almost every other nation. By contrast, far fewer crimes are prevented using guns than committed with them – and this falls particularly hard on women and young children.
However, the facts about guns in America aren't that one-sided. The murder rate in the US is dropping, and has been for almost 20 years, though it's not clear why. Not only that, but gun ownership in the US is declining – but again, nobody knows by how much or why, exactly. Even with these drops, the numbers about gun violence in the US are alarming.Here are some of the most compelling facts about gun ownership in the US. What they mean will likely always be up for debate.
There are more civilian-owned guns than people in the United States, according to the 2018 Small Arms Survey from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
The study looked at 230 countries and found that the US has the heaviest concentration of firearm ownership: America makes up 4% of the global population but owns roughly 46% of the world's civilian firearms. Not including any branch of military's arsenal, there are more than 393 million firearms in the US, which is enough for every person – including children – to own one and there would still be a whopping 67 million guns left over.
It's difficult to calculate exactly how many people die due to gun violence each year, but the annual average is estimated to be around 33,880.
FBI reports indicate mass shootings are on the rise since 2000; the number has increased from around 6.4 annual shootings to 16.4. As Vox points out, mass shootings are so frequent in America that they average out to about one per day.
Research published by the American Journal of Medicine in 2016 found that US residents are much more likely to be killed by guns than residents of other developed countries. In fact, Americans are 25 times more likely to die by gun violence.