Thursday, December 3, 2015

More guns means more gun deaths

This one graph tells almost the entire story: the United States has by far and away the most gun-deaths per capita of all rich countries; and not coincidentally Americans own the most firearms of any country. In other words, more guns equals more deaths from guns.

A secondary issue is that a disproportionately high percentage of the homicide gun deaths in the United States are not among first-world Americans who have jobs, intact families, educations, mortgages and so on. They take place among blacks, mostly young and poor males, whose violent culture, broken families, lack of education and disassociation from the legitimate economy is far more reflective of a third-world lifestyle than one in the richest countries on earth. 

According to Pew research, "Men (and boys) make up the vast majority (84% in 2010) of gun homicide victims. ... By age group, 69% of gun homicide victims are ages 18 to 40, a proportion that has changed little since 1993. ... Looked at by race, blacks are over-represented among gun homicide victims; blacks were 55% of shooting homicide victims in 2010, but 13% of the population. By contrast, whites are underrepresented; whites were 25% of the victims of gun homicide in 2010, but 65% of the population. For Hispanics, the 17% share of gun homicide victims was about equal to their 16% proportion of the total population."

But homicide is not the only way Americans die from guns. More Americans commit suicide with a firearm (61% of all gun deaths) than kill someone else. Roughly 51% of all successful suicides are with a gun. According to Pew, "Firearm suicide was the fourth leading cause of violent-injury death in 2010, following motor vehicle accidents, unintentional poison (including drug overdose) and falls."

The characteristics of those who kill themselves with a gun is not the same as those who kill others. According to Pew, they are mostly older white males.
"Males are the vast majority of gun suicides (87% in 2010), and the suicide rate for males (11.2 deaths per 100,000 people) is more than seven times the female rate (1.5 deaths). The highest firearm suicide rate by age is among those ages 65 and older (10.6 per 100,000 people). ... Among the three largest racial and ethnic groups, whites have the highest suicide rate at 8.5 per 100,000, followed by blacks (2.7) and Hispanics (1.9)."

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