10 facts about guns in America
Firearm ownership and violence in the U.S.
Right now, more than ever, gun control is a hot topic. The powerful gun lobby is once again at odds with reputable polls that indicate Americans believe in limits on gun use, reports The New York Times.
As both sides argue over the meaning of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed," let's take a look at some of the facts surrounding gun ownership and violence in the U.S.
Violence in the U.S.
Kieran Healy, a sociologist at Duke University, made this graph of “deaths due to assault” in the United States and other developed countries.
As Healy writes, “The most striking features of the data are (1) how much more violent the U.S. is than other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries (except possibly Estonia and Mexico, not shown here), and (2) the degree of change—and recently, decline—there has been in the U.S. time series considered by itself.”
Gun ownership in U.S.
Gallup’s October 2011 report finds that 47 percent of Americans reported that they have a gun in their home or elsewhere on their property. This is up from 41 percent a year ago and is the highest Gallup has recorded since 1993.
A separate survey (General Social Survey) by NORC at the University of Chicago indicates that the percentage of gun-owning households has fallen since 2004 to 32 percent in 2010. The survey indicates at least 1.8 firearms per household, or at least 70 million in households nationwide.
Meanwhile, a 2004 study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, estimates 260 to 300 million guns in civilian hands in the U.S.
Private-party gun sales
Perhaps 40 percent of all gun sales nationwide – roughly 6.6 million transactions in 2008 – are made by private parties, reports The New England Journal of Medicine. Moreover, private parties can sell handguns to anyone 18 years of age or older; licensed retailers cannot sell handguns to anyone under 21 years of age.
Guns in the home
Living in a home where there are guns increases the risk of homicide by 40 to 170 percent and the risk of suicide by 90 to 460 percent.
More on MSN Living: A global view on American gun violenceDecrease in murder rate
Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Gun Policy and Research in Baltimore. Homicides may be up this year, though the murder rate from 2006 to 2011 fell 19 percent, to 4.7 for every 100,000 people
Guns will out-kill car fatalities by 2015
Guns and cars have long been among the leading causes of non-medical deaths in the U.S. By 2015, firearm fatalities will probably exceed traffic fatalities for the first time, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. Shooting deaths in 2015 will probably rise to almost 33,000, and those related to autos will decline to about 32,000, based on the 10-year average trend, reports Bloomberg.
15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States.
Time has the full list here. In second place is Finland, with two entries.
More on MSN Living: Newtown to the media: 'Enough is enough'
Of the 11 deadliest shootings in the US, five have happened from 2007 onward.
That doesn’t include Friday’s shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The AP put the early reported death toll at 27, which would make it the second-deadliest mass shooting in US history.
In 2011, there were 94 murders in Connecticut due to firearms.
For a state-by-state breakdown of crime, check out the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ‘Uniform Crime Reports.’
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Getty Images
There is also less gun crime now than the late 90s according to the FBI despite the expiration of assault weapon bans.
Explain the contradictions...
a free people ought not only to be
armed and disciplined, but they should
have sufficient arms and ammunition to
maintain a status of independence from
any who might attempt to abuse them,
which would include their own government.
The media and big govt. types on both sides of the aisle are going to use this to call for more gun control if not an outright ban on firearm ownership. How about summary execution of these depraved individuals that commit this behavior. Some claim they were going to commit suicide but it just doesn't work out for whatever reason. Maybe the idea of taxpayer funded care for the rest of their life while their appeals drag out. It costs more to incarcerate an individual in prison than a lot of hardworking individuals who are free and have families make all year long. That is a travesty. I certainly feel for the victims and their families but the freedom of the American people cannot be discarded or infringed upon because of fear, hysteria and politics. Sen. Feinstein once said if it was up to her every firearm in our great country would be confiscated. Let's hope it's never up to her and her ilk. My nephew and I were shot at for stopping at a red light in a relatively crime free area in broad daylight. After providing police with a description of the vehicle and assailants/occupants they spent approx. 30 minutes asking me what I did do 'deserve this'. By the way what's the murder rate in D.C. , Chicago, and N.Y.C. with some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation?
Why would one believe that by making gun ownership illegal , you would reduce violent crime ??
Isn't violent crime already illegal ??
For example...." Oh , I was going to go out and shoot my neighbor....but I guess I won't because having a gun is illegal ".....does anyone really think that this approach is going to work ???
These folks are mentally disturbed....that's the real problem.... Let's help them and not just create more "feel good " legislation.....
This is more a reflection of how we (as a nation) fail to treat our mentally ill than how we control assault weapons.....
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