The debate on guns is an everyday conversation. There are strong arguments for and against both sides. The debate has been going on for a very long time now and it’s not going to go away anytime soon. As long as these senseless acts keep dominating the news, the debate will continue to rage on.
All of the shocking stats in this article are current as of January 1, 2016 and they reflect what went on in 2015. We all know what has already happened this year and we are on pace to top some of the shocking numbers that you will shortly read.
This work does not support one side or the other of the gun control argument. It’s simply to bring you some shocking numbers that maybe you weren’t aware of. And I’m certain that no matter which side of the fence you sit on, you will be disturbed by some of what you are going to read.
In Missouri, a 9-year-old girl was killed while on her bed doing homework. The bullet came from outside of her house. In Florida, a gun that was stolen from an unlocked vehicle was used to kill a police officer. The numbers and stats you are about to read will shock you. Do you know the comparison of gun related deaths in America to the number of deaths in wars that the United States has been involved in? Did you know that a toddler fires a gun in the United States on average more than once a week? Continue reading and you will learn some truly disturbing numbers and facts that are all from America alone.
15. There Were 372 Mass Shootings In 2015
In the calendar year of 2015 there were a total of 372 mass shootings in the United States. The total number of people wounded from those incidents was 1,870 and there were a total of 475 people killed. The Mass Shooting Tracker keeps all of these statistics so that accurate numbers can be found. The definition of a mass shooting is one shooting incident that injures or kills four or more victims (including the shooter).
That number of 372 total mass shootings means that there is on average a little more than one mass shooting per day in the United States. That is a very frightening number.
Here are some more numbers to think about. A survey done by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center found that 22% of Americans are gun owners. 25% of those people have five or more fire arms. To dig further, 8% of gun owners have ten or more of them. To put that into perspective, more residents in America own ten firearms (or more) than there are total people that live in Denmark. So while 8% looks like it may be a small number, in the overall scheme of things it’s not really small at all.
14. In 2015, There Were 64 School Shootings
Everytown for Gun Safety Research reports that there were 64 shootings that took place in schools in the United States during 2015. After the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut the group started keeping accurate numbers. The numbers count any time that a gun was fired in a school but nobody was hurt, so every one of those instances did not always result in injuries or deaths.
On December 16th, 2015 Congress performed its 25th moment of silence to honor gun violence victims since the incident at Sandy Hook. This is not enough to get them to take any action however. There is always a public backlash against them every time they offer “thoughts and prayers” or some comment similar to that, toward victims of gun violence. Because every time they offer these thoughts, they follow it up by not taking action to do anything about it.
Common knowledge says that no matter what they ever decide to do (if they ever do) gun violence will never stop. But at least they could make it harder for these instances to be carried out. That’s just common sense. But as long as the NRA continues to support them and donate (to the tune of well over $13 million) nothing will ever change.
13. More Than 13,000 People Were Killed By Guns In 2015
Not including the final week of 2015, the Gun Violence Archive reports that there were 13,286 people killed by guns in the United States last year. Those numbers will be higher when you add in the number of deaths over that final week of the year. A total of 26,819 people were injured by guns over the same time period. However suicides are not counted toward the final statistics, so if you put those in there the number would be even higher.
Did you know that according to the FBI, less than 10% of guns that are stolen are ever recovered? It’s hard to get exact numbers of the amount of guns that enter the “illegally held” category, but a very high number of those are guns that are stolen. Some say that the number of guns that are out there illegally is in the tens of thousands, if not more.
In 2015 over 400 guns were stolen out of cars in Duval County, Florida alone. About 60% of those were taken from vehicles that were unlocked. How can that even happen? If you have a gun in your car just lock it up. Do you really have to be told this by anyone? If you live in Duval County and are not armed, it may be time to move somewhere else. Austin, Texas might be a good choice. You’ll learn why in just a few minutes.
12. More Gun Murders In US Than Anywhere Else
The latest statistics that compare accurate numbers of gun related murders between countries came out in 2012 and the numbers are staggering. Gun murders per capita in the United States was 2.9 per 100,000 people while in the United Kingdom that number is just 0.1, showing the USA has almost 30 times the number of gun-related murders than the UK. Since those numbers are from 2012 you can only imagine how high the discrepancy is today between the two.
To take it a step further, in 2012, of all murders committed in the United States, 60% were gun related. That’s MORE THAN HALF. In comparison during that same timeframe Canada saw only 31% while Australia reported 18.2%. There were only 10% in the United Kingdom during 2012.
Again, these numbers are from over three years ago so you can only imagine what they are as of today.
In August of 2015, in St. Louis, gun thefts were up 70%. Most of these were stolen from vehicles that were left unlocked. In Pinellas County, Florida, a gun that was used to kill a police officer was actually stolen from an unlocked vehicle. If you have a gun in your car just lock it up. The life you save may be your own.
11. More Die In The USA From Gunfire Than Wars
Politifact reports that between 1968 and 2011 1.4 million people were killed by gunfire. That number is higher than the combined total of EVERY war that the United States has EVER been involved with. The number of war-related deaths from the War of Independence to Iraq totals up to 1.2 million deaths.
Stolen guns are used in more tragedies than anything else. So many stolen guns are used in murders that police around the country are starting to take actions against the victims of the theft. In Orange, Connecticut police charged a victim of a gun theft with misdemeanor reckless endangerment when he told them that his .38 caliber revolver was taken from his truck. A truck that he had left unlocked.
Being a gun owner is a responsibility. If more people are dying from gunfire in our country than are dying in wars in other countries, something needs to be addressed here. Those numbers seem to state that the war that the United States needs to be focusing on is the war that is taking place right here within our own borders. And when a very high number of those guns that are being used are stolen, maybe it’s time to start holding those people accountable more than we do right now. Maybe the police in Connecticut are onto something.
10. Over $1 Trillion Spent On Terrorism
There are no official numbers that are available but it’s estimated that there are around 300 million guns in the United States. That total is just about enough for every human being in the country to have one. But the fact is that the overall total number of guns here are actually owned by only a third of the country’s population.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) said that it saw a huge increase of memberships after the Sandy Hook tragedy. The number of members jumped up to around 5 million.
If you think that those numbers grab your attention, try to digest the following numbers. The United States spends on average over one TRILLION dollars a year to protect against terrorism. That’s reassuring for US residents but those dollars that are spent result in drastically lower numbers in those killed that are related to terrorism, but not enough is being done to help those that are killed by regular gun crimes. Between 2001 and 2011 there were 11,385 gun-related deaths per year in the USA. These numbers are reported by both the Council on Foreign Affairs as well as the US Department of Justice. During that same timeframe, an average of 517 people were killed every year in terrorism-related events. But if you remove 2001 from those numbers, the total per year drops to only 31.
That shows you that when the money is spent it can indeed bring results. It just needs to be spent in the right place first.
9. Gun Violence Killed 36 People A Day In 2015
The Gun Violence Archive is a nonprofit website that goes through over 1,200 websites to gather accurate statistics of gun violence in the country. In 2015, up to December 23rd, there had been over 50,000 gun violence events in the United States. Those resulted in 12,942 deaths.
The numbers take every instance into consideration including accidental shootings, homicides, gang-related events and self-defense incidents. What it doesn’t include is that nearly 20,000 people commit suicide each year in the United States via gun shot. The way the government reports numbers to the public directly results in numbers not being 100% complete.
So even with suicides removed from the equation, 36 people a day have their lives ended in the United States due to gun violence. Think about that number for a few minutes.
As long as there are guns there is going to be gun violence. That is a fact that can’t be denied. But a little bit of responsibility by gun owners and maybe some better requirements put forth by Congress could get this number down. In this country nothing ever seems to get accomplished until someone noteworthy loses their life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Only Congress can make the changes that are needed to prevent such happenings.
8. 301,797 Dead By Guns. 71 By Terrorism
It seems that just about every day now there is some sort of terrorism that is dominating the news headlines. But the fact is that in the last ten years there have been more gun-related deaths in the United States than in terror related attacks on US soil. Far more… the comparison is 301,797 deaths to 71 deaths.
Just to clarify those numbers, it says that in the last ten years there have been almost 302,000 people that have been killed by gunfire in this country. While during the same time there have been only 71 deaths related to terrorism on American ground.
No death that is not by natural causes is acceptable by any means. But the government and the news agencies seem to be focused on acts of terrorism more so than the countless other senseless acts that occur every day. They can justify it by saying there are just so many of them that it’s hard to report every single one of them. That’s probably true but giving terrorism the bulk of the news coverage tells those people that they will get national or worldwide attention for what they do. It’s quite possible that if the reporting on them was lowered drastically, the events might be as well. But when we do more damage to each other than terrorism does, THAT’s the shocking story that should be reported on each day. Did you know that 40% of Americans know someone that committed suicide by gun or that was killed by a gun? That number is way too high and the country should be embarrassed by it.
7. Only ONE Major USA City Does Not Have A Mass Shooting Incident
By definition, a mass shooting is an event that sees four people or more being shot during the same incident. The total number of fatalities that are involved (if any) does not matter as far as the definition of a mass shooting is concerned. There have been countless instances of this happening over the past year to 18 months. Well over one hundred metropolitan areas have had such incidents. Many don’t make national news and if there are no fatalities involved a lot of them won’t even make your local news. This is how much of a commonplace it has become.
Since 2013 there has been only ONE major American city that has a population of over 400,000 residents that hasn’t had a mass shooting. By these statistics, it seems that Austin, Texas might just be the safest place to live in the country. For now anyway.
Two examples of a mass shooting that didn’t have any fatalities would be when ten people were shot at a West Philadelphia block party on Father’s Day and twelve other people were shot during a kid’s birthday party in Detroit. The number of victims makes the incidents mass shootings even though there were no fatalities. Each incident made local news but apparently didn’t warrant national coverage.
6. Mass Shootings Account for 2% Of Gun-Death Average
Events like Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and more recently in Orlando and Dallas, dominate the news headlines. This is because when there are multiple deaths involved in an incident it’s a newsworthy event. National news agencies cover these stories because it adds to their viewership numbers and they can sensationalize the stories. I’m not saying that they don’t deserve coverage because events of that type absolutely do. But the major news agencies only seem to care about mass shootings were deaths are involved. There are just so many of the incidents that we just mentioned above, that it’s hard to cover them all, if not impossible.
The fact is however, that those events are responsible for only about 2% of the year’s average of gun related deaths. They are national news because there are usually more people involved but the overall numbers supplied by German Lopez of Vox verify that 98% of gun related deaths take place in smaller incidents in bars, parking lots, street corners and bedrooms.
The major news agencies glamorize their coverage and make these mass shootings more enticing to the people that carry them out. Maybe less coverage of the major events would make these people rethink things before carrying them out. It might be worth a try.
5. Half Of The Daily Deaths Are Black Men
According to an article published by ProPublica, 50% of the daily American gun related deaths are black men. This is despite the fact that they make up only 6% of America’s total population.
Former U.S. Attorney from Virginia, Timothy Heaphy, says that these incidents aren’t normally covered in the news because of where they take place. He said that because they happen in “poor, segregated neighborhoods that have little political clout,” the news agencies aren’t as likely to cover the stories as quickly as they would if it were a white person involved in a higher class neighborhood. He added “I don’t think we care about African-American lives as much as we care about white lives.” He may be on to something if you watch the news at all. The only time anything seems to get national coverage is if there is a public outcry over an event. The event itself is not enough for the news agencies to take notice, but if the public shows an interest in the event then the major news agencies are all over it. One doesn’t have to look any further back than just a few weeks to see the proof of this.
Would national news agencies have covered the incidents in Baton Rouge or in Wisconsin had there not been a public outcry over the events? It’s highly doubtful.
4. 756 Dead Children From Gunfire In 2015
According to Gun Violence Archive, more than 756 children were killed by gunfire in 2015. The daily numbers show that more than two people under the age of 18 are killed every single day in the United States.
Taking a further look into the numbers a sad story is told. In 2015 of all people that were killed under the age of 18 years old, 75% of those were actually under the age of 12 years old. NBC News reports that since the Sandy Hook tragedy, one child in the United States, under the age of 12, has been killed by gunfire every other day. This includes both accidental and intentional gunfire.
The NBC report further states that those children under the age of 12 are more likely to be shot and killed by people they know (family or friends) rather than by strangers.
On August 18th, 2015 however, it was a stranger that killed 9-year-old Jamyla Bolden in Ferguson, Missouri. At least that’s what authorities think. They really aren’t sure who actually fired the shot so they really can’t say. Bolden was lying on her bed in her bedroom doing her homework when a bullet was fired into the house and struck her.
3. A Toddler Shoots A Gun More Than Once A Week
The Washington Post reports that in 2015, a toddler accidentally shot someone an astounding one time per week. The report says that nineteen times a toddler accidentally killed themselves (one every 2.7 weeks), 25 toddlers suffered self-inflicted injuries (one about every two weeks), thirteen toddlers accidentally shot someone else (one every four weeks) and twice a toddler killed someone else accidentally. That totals 59 incidents in 2015, averaging out to more than once a week. For the report, a toddler is considered someone that is younger than three years old.
Advocates for gun violence prevention are pushing for requirements for gun storage and for the creation of smart guns. These types of guns could only be fired by their owners. However, there is very strong opposition to this so chances are pretty good that neither measure would ever be put into motion. At least not for a long time.
The reality is that if you own a gun and you have a toddler in the house, it should be one of those unspoken or unwritten rules that are followed without a second thought. Keep the firearm secured so that a toddler can’t get to it. A parent will take measures to keep toxic chemicals away from their baby and several other household items that could harm them. Why wouldn’t they automatically take the same measures with a firearm?
2. Guns Are Just As (If Not More) Deadly Than Car Crashes
The CDC recently reported that guns are now taking as many American lives as cars are. Over the last fifteen years, cars have been getting much safer as the technology continues to advance for motor vehicles. This has reduced the total number of vehicle-related deaths and the trend will continue as more technology is always being introduced.
During the same time period guns have resulted in just about the same amount of deaths per 100,000 people. The more guns that go into circulation in the country will result in more deaths being caused so there is a very good chance that very soon gun related deaths will pass car related deaths.
There are some that bring forth the argument that the medical profession has also seen several upgrades with new technology. This can result in a life that can now be saved that may have been previously lost due to gun fire.
According to the CDC report guns and cars each kill 10.3 Americans per 100,000 people. Reality says that car technology that saves lives from car accidents will eventually outweigh any advances in the medical profession. Vehicle technology can reduce the number of injuries suffered over time. But medical technology advances can only be applied AFTER a gunfire injury is suffered. So logic says that it’s only a matter of time before gunfire claims more lives than vehicles.
1. Domestic Violence With A Gun
Everyone knows that domestic violence is not a good thing. But if there is a firearm in the house the results are even worse. An incident that may just be out of control and result in injuries can instead turn into a deadly incident if there is a gun around. Let me be clear here, domestic violence is never acceptable. But an incident that happens without a gun around usually will end better for all involved. And by saying ending better, what I mean is it can end with all parties still breathing.
When a domestic violence incident happens with a gun around, it will end with the death of someone involved, twelve times more than it would if the gun wasn’t there. That statistic was released by the California Attorney General and you may think that it’s a fairly obvious statistic but it’s something to think about. Obviously, the more guns that are around the more incidents that are going to happen. The bottom line here would be that if you are involved in a domestic dispute and there is a gun in the house, just get out. It’s better to be mad and be alive and be given the opportunity to work things out in a few hours or in a few days than to be dead and not have that opportunity.