America's gun problem in five charts

There have been 90 mass shootings in the U.S. since 1982. Photo courtesy: Google Maps

There have been 90 mass shootings in the U.S. since 1982. Photo courtesy: Google Maps  

The gun control debate has hotted up in the U.S. after the Las Vegas massacre. Here are five charts that show the prevalence of guns and related crimes in the United States

On an average day, 93 Americans die in gun-related violence while 18 of their compatriots succumb to AIDS. The call for regulating access to firearms has been accentuated after the mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas claimed 59 lives and injured 527, making it the worst such incident in U.S. history. Here are a few statistics to show the extent to which gun culture has become entrenched in American society.

1. There are 89 guns for every 100 U.S. residents


Source:UN Office on Drugs and Crime

The U.S. tops the list of per capita firearms possession compiled by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, with strife-torn Yemen coming a distant second. The number of homicides using guns is greater in countries with less stringent gun-control laws.

2. 90 mass shootings in U.S. since 1982

Source: Mother Jones Investigation: U.S. Mass Shootings, 1982-2017


A Mother Jones' Report titled U.S. Mass Shootings, 1982-2017 found that 760 fatalities have been registered in mass shootings in the U.S since 1982, while 1968 people suffered injuries. Of the 90 incidents, 61 were carried out using legally-purchased weapons. Children have also been caught in the crossfire, with 12 incidents of mass shootings taking places at schools. 36% of the perpetrators had a history of mental illness.

3. Southern states record maximum gun-related deaths

Source: National Centre for Health Statistics- Firearm Mortality by State: 2014


The states of California, Texas, and Florida top the list of casualties succumbing to gunshot wounds, while the mortality rate is highest in Louisiana, where 18.9 people die in gun-related violence every year.

4. More firearms mean more deaths by guns

Source: National Centre of Health Statistics


"If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on a wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there."

-Anton Chekov

There is a linear correlation between the ownership of firearms and the number of deaths due to gun-related violence. The National Centre of Health Statistics data for 2014 reveals that a greater prevalence of firearms translates into more civilian deaths due to gunshot wounds. Arkansas and New Hampshire recorded maximum gun-related fatalities per 1,00,000 residents, whilst having the most firearms in circulation among the populace. This refutes the claims of the National Rifle Association (NRA) that firearms are essential for self-defence and bring down crime rates.

5. Police guns killed 15,983 civilians since 2000


Source: Fatal Encounters

Of the 22,613 individuals who died in encounters with American law enforcement agencies since the turn of the millennium, 70.7% of them fell to police bullets. Data collected by Fatal Encounters, a non-profit, found that 4,336, or 19% of the total victims, were of African-American extraction, countering the perception that the excesses of the police had racial undertones.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 12:28:00 PM |

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