Outside of disease, firearms are the second-largest cause of death worldwide after road accidents.
Below, you will see the latest gun violence statistics, which cover a wide range of aspects related to firearm-related deaths globally and in the US in particular.
Gun violence refers to death or injury caused by the use of firearms and includes homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, suicide, and attempted suicides, as well as non-criminal violence like accidental death or injury.
Now, we’ll look into the numbers.
Trending Gun Violence Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Only a dozen of the USA’s 50 states require permits to purchase a gun
- 19,379 gun violence deaths were recorded in the US in 2020
- 612 mass shootings happened in 2020
- America’s gun suicide rate is ten times higher than many European countries
- The USA sees 100 times more firearm-related deaths per 100,000 people compared to Germany
- There are 316 people shot in America every day
- 11 US presidents have been victims of an attempted assassination involving firearms
- More than 75% of first and second graders know where their parents keep firearms
Gun Death Statistics
1. Only a dozen of the USA’s 50 states require permits to purchase a gun.
This suggests that the majority of the states do not support gun control. Out of these 12 states, only three require purchase permits for rifles and gunshots. These states are California, Hawaii, and Connecticut.
2. Over 500 people die from gun violence per day.
While many people die each day due to a list of varied reasons, such as illnesses, accidents, natural causes, among others, it’s pretty heartbreaking to know that a significant number of death cases are caused by gun violence. Gun death statistics show the number of gun-related deaths per day is more than 500. Moreover, around 2,000 individuals get hurt due to gunshots each day.
3. 19,379 gun violence deaths were recorded in the US in 2020, the highest in more than 20 years.
The number of deaths due to gun violence reached a high record last year amidst the pandemic crisis. Based on gun violence statistics, 2020 saw the highest number of firearms deaths, reaching 19,379, which is the highest ever recorded in over two decades. This does not include the number of suicides involving guns, amounting to 24,090.
4. As of May 2021, there are 15,555 deaths from gun violence.
(Gun Violence Archive)
We’re only in the second quarter of the year, but the number of gun violence deaths is already close to last year’s record. The gun violence statistics for 2021 show that all non-suicide gun violence deaths plus daily calculated suicide deaths are now 15,555. It seems that this cause of death is inevitable and even competes with the different illnesses as death causes.
5. 10,258 murder victims were killed by firearms.
Firearms still remain the top weapons used in murder cases. According to the latest gun violence statistics FBI released, firearms killed almost three-quarters of the total murder victims. Specifically, the figure amounted to 10,258, accounting for 73.7%.
6. The likelihood of living in a household with a firearm in the US increases directly with the household income.
Owning a firearm, just like owning any other commodity, is easier for the well-off. A NORC study, for instance, showed that while only about 18% of households with income below $25,000 owned a firearm, the rate went up to 44% for households with income above $90,000.
7. 612 mass shootings happened in 2020.
As the COVID-19 disease continues to take many people’s lives, mass shootings persist in many countries in the world. Based on mass shootings statistics worldwide, there were 612 of these gun violence incidents in 2020. The majority of this (463) has unknown perpetrators. Meanwhile, there are already 121 mass shootings recorded in 2021.
8. There are over 875 million firearms in the world.
Given the above stats, we’re not surprised that more and more people worldwide are falling victims to gun violence. Available data shows that guns outnumber passenger vehicles by 29%. What’s more shocking is that three-quarters of all the guns worldwide belong to civilians.
United States Gun Violence Statistics Compared to Other Countries
9. States with a higher density of guns experience more gun deaths.
Statistics indicate that more guns in a community lead to higher homicide rates. The states with the highest gun ownership per 100,000 residents, like Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana, also see the highest number of gun deaths per 100,000 residents.
10. Half of all gun-related deaths in the world take place in just six countries.
Based on the latest global gun violence statistics, six countries—Brazil (43,200), USA (37,200), Mexico (15,400), Colombia (13,300), Venezuela (12,800), and Guatemala (5,090)—account for about 50.5% of the 251,000 gun deaths in the world.
Population-wise, less than 10% of the world’s population resides in these countries. The US is the only country with a strong economy and criminal justice system to have such a high level of gun-related incidents, facts on gun violence affirm.
11. The US ranks 2nd in terms of the number of gun-related deaths worldwide.
(World Population Review)
Brazil tops the list as the country with the most gun violence deaths, accounting for 42,300 Brazilian citizens. The United States came next, with 37,200 gun deaths. A high gun-related suicide rate has contributed to this amount. The US also ranks 32nd in gun homicide rate, with 3.96 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019.
12. The USA sees 100 times more firearm-related deaths per 100,000 people compared to Germany.
While gun violence statistics by country show that the rate of violent deaths in the US is well below countries like El Salvador and Venezuela, its gun problem is unique among the world’s largest economies. The USA also differs from other high gun violence rate countries in terms of types of gun violence, with suicides accounting for a higher share of gun-related deaths here.
Germany, the country with the next highest gun violence rate outside North America, sees only 0.1 firearm-related deaths per 100,000 people. The statistics on gun violence further show Canada, UK, China, and Japan as 2.1, 0.048, 0.033, and 0.032, respectively.
13. America accounts for one-third of the world’s total number of gun suicides.
The JAMA Network’s latest report shows that, with 23,800 gun suicides, the USA accounts for a third of the world total. This is despite the country having only 4% of the world population. India ranked second in the study in terms of absolute numbers, at 13,400.
14. America’s gun suicide rate is ten times higher than many European countries.
(Our World in Data)
American gun violence stats reveal a shocking truth about the country’s suicide rate using guns. With more than six deaths per 100,000, which is ten times higher than many countries across Europe, it’s now clear why a third of the world’s total gun suicides occur in the US.
15. Developed countries with a high density of guns also have more gun deaths.
(World Population Review)
Suppose skeptics are not convinced that a higher circulation of guns in the community results in higher gun-related deaths. In that case, the data on gun violence statistics worldwide confirm the correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths.
Furthermore, the figures on crime rates in countries with gun control vs. no gun control indicate that countries like Canada, Finland, and France with a higher number of guns per 100 people also have higher gun-related deaths per 100,000 people.
16. Depending on what is considered a mass shooting, the US accounts for 31% of all such incidents globally.
Mass shootings statistics by country have seen their fair share of controversy, though. Two studies have been widely cited in recent times. The first, carried out by University of Alabama’s Adam Lankford, claims 90 mass shootings in the US between 1966 and 2012. The stats excluded gang-related shootings, drive-by shootings, hostage-taking incidents, robberies, and acts of genocide or terrorism.
In comparison, 202 occurred in the rest of the world, including 18 in The Philippines, 15 in Russia, 11 in Yemen, and 10 in France. The other set of global mass shooting statistics, by John R Lott, Jr, of the Crime Prevention Research Center, claims 43 in the US between 1998 and 2012 against 1,491 incidents worldwide.
17. There are an estimated 120.5 civilian firearms per 100 persons in the US.
(World Population Review)
The US is the only country where there are more firearms than people. That’s on top of being higher than any other country in the world regarding the firearm rate. Even disturbed areas like Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan have lower civilian ownership at 52.8, 19.6, and 12.5, respectively.
According to the latest worldwide gun violence stats, some other large economies with relatively high gun ownership rates are Canada (34.7), Switzerland (27.6), Germany (19.6), and Australia (14.5). India ranks second in terms of the total number of civilian firearms at 71 million, about five times less than the total for the USA.
18. The USA has lower violent crime rates than the average of industrialized countries.
Yes, that’s not a typo. The American gun violence statistics may be giving the country a poor image, but it is not an outlier when it comes to crimes in general. According to the famous International Crime Victims Survey, the average violent crime rate for fifteen industrialized nations is 6.3%, while the rate for the US is 5.5%.
Countries like Australia, UK, and France have higher violent crime rates. However, it is the gun culture that makes every violent crime in the US that much deadlier. For instance, a robbery gone wrong is 54 times more likely to end in a shooting death in New York than in London.
Gun Violence in America Statistics
A bit of trivia: do you know that more Americans have died in firearm-related incidents since 1968 than they have in wars since 1775?
Believe it or not, that’s true.
19. There are 316 people shot in America every day.
Shootings occur daily in the US. Even in the middle of a pandemic, this highly fatal incident persists. Looking at the statistics of gun violence in the US would be somewhat depressing as 316 people are shot every day. Of this, 106 die while 210 are able to survive.
20. Homicides involving firearms have been declining in the US.
The number of firearm-related homicide cases in the US continues to fall for four straight years. From 15,355 in 2016, the figure was at 13,927 in 2019. While the decrease is only minimal, if this trend continues in the next couple of years, it will significantly impact the country’s capability to curb its firearm-related homicides.
On the contrary, the number of self-defense shootings steadily rises, the recent FBI stats on gun violence show. Most of the justifiable homicides where the type of firearms used was known involve handguns (1,121) followed by shotguns (48).
21. 11 US presidents have been victims of an attempted assassination involving firearms; 4 died of bullet wounds.
(World Population Review)
To date, 11 presidents have been involved in attempted assassinations using firearms. Four of them eventually died of bullet wounds, namely Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John Kennedy.
22. 7,957 children and teens are shot annually.
A high mortality rate among children is among the most egregious examples of gun violence. The youth gun violence statistics show that, of the above number, 1,663 die from gun violence. Meanwhile, most of these denote a brighter side in which 6,294 children and teens managed to survive gunshot injuries.
23. 662 children and teens in the US die from gun suicide per year.
There is an alarming issue of gun suicide among children and teens in the US. While some teens who may be depressed, experienced bullying, or seeking attention get involved in school shootings, others commit suicide. Data shows the around 662 children and teens in the country committing suicide using a gun every year.
24. The ratio of American kids killed by guns to those killed by cancer is 2:1.
Child gun violence statistics in the USA are particularly heartbreaking. According to an analysis by the University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center, gun deaths are the second largest cause of death of children in the US after car accidents.
However, while the number of car accident-related deaths has fallen sharply since the early 2000s, statistics confirm that the number of firearm-related deaths has remained steady in the same period.
25. The highest number of mass shootings in the US (12) was recorded in 2018.
In 2018 the country recorded a total of 12 mass shootings. In the succeeding year, th33is number dropped to 10. Gun violence statistics over the last 20 years show that the only year without mass shootings was 2002.
26. 118 school shootings occurred in the US in 2019 – the highest since 1970.
The United States has a long history of gun violence in schools. Between 1970 and 2017, the number of school shooting incidences remained below 100. However, the figure started to skyrocket in 2018 and reached its peak at 118 in 2019.
27. California recorded the most number of school shootings, amounting to 180.
Regarding the state with the highest incidence of school gun violence, statistics reveal that California is pulling ahead. Since 1970, this state has recorded a total of 180 school shootings. Texas occupies the second spot, having 149 shootings. This is a growing problem that requires a systematic approach. Gun control is not enough.
28. For every American killed in a terrorism incident, more than 1,049 died because of firearms.
Looking at the gun violence vs. terrorism statistics, one can quickly conclude the prevalence of gun deaths in the US. To understand this better, let’s try to break the above statistic down. For every single American who died due to terrorism, be it in the US or abroad, guns kill 1,1049 people within the country.
29. The number of black Americans killed in gun homicide is ten times higher than white Americans.
(Every Town Research)
Every year, about 7,500 Black Americans die by gun homicide, gun violence statistics by race show. Even though they make up only 38% of the population, Black Americans account for 81% of gun homicide victims across 50 cities having the highest murder rates.
30. Nearly 30% of mass shootings in the US between 1982 and April 2021 involved illegally obtained guns or that had indeterminate origins.
Registrations and background checks only go so far if the widespread circulation of firearms makes it easy for disturbing elements to source them quickly through other means. Of the 116 mass shootings between 1982 and April 2021, USA gun violence statistics show that 16 were carried out using illegally obtained firearms and 16 using guns of unknown or yet to be determined origins.If someone is determined to commit such an atrocious act, finding a weapon is the least of their problems.
31. 6,885 people died in the US between 2006 and 2016 in unintentional shootings.
In 2019 alone, there were 486 deaths caused by a firearms accident, the CDC stats on gun violence show. This means that about 1% of all gun-related deaths in 2019 were accidental. Even though the numbers are high, they are almost two times lower than in 1999, when there were 824 such deaths.
As with other gun-related deaths, there is a statistically significant correlation between gun availability and the rates of unintentional firearm deaths. Gun violence statistics by city stress it’s nine times more likely in states with more guns relative to states with fewer guns. This is where a suitable handgun safe comes in handy – to prevent mishandling of firearms.
32. Over 4.6 million kids aged 18 and under in the US live in households with loaded and unlocked firearms.
(American Academy of Pediatrics)
The presence of a readily available household gun sets the stage for possible tragedy. The CDC statistics on gun violence also show that adolescents are particularly susceptible to accidental shootings due to specific behavioral characteristics like impulsivity and curiosity.
This is reflected in the high rate of accidental shootings among the youth. In 2020, for example, there were 369 accidental shootings by children, causing 142 deaths and 242 injuries.
33. More than 75% of first and second graders know where their parents keep firearms.
(Stanford Children’s Health)
That’s one of the alarming facts about gun violence parents must pay attention to. Moreover, 36% of first and second graders have also admitted to handling the weapons, which contradicts what most parents believe or report. More than 80% of guns used by youth in suicide attempts are kept in the home of the victim, a relative, or a friend.
Statistics show that 31% of accidental gun deaths could be prevented with the addition of a gun safe or two devices: a child-proof safety lock and a loading indicator.
34. If all mental illnesses in the US were to be cured overnight, violent crime in the country would fall by only 4%.
(Dubois County Free Press)
There is a slim association between mental health and gun violence. Statistics backed by studies have confirmed this. Duke University professor Jeffrey Swanson’s research, for instance, shows mental illnesses (i.e., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression) only have a marginal effect on gun incidents.
On the other hand, Michael Stone, a psychiatrist at Columbia, claimed in his article that just about 22% of the mass shooters’ database maintained by him had any diagnosed mental illness.
Therefore, the statistics about gun violence being linked to mental illness should be enough basis to say the two are associated only to some extent, and mental health does not necessarily cause gun violence. However, it is best to be safe than sorry and limit these persons’ access to weapons.
35. 67% of gun owners in the US cite protection or self-defense as the reason for owning a firearm.
(Pew Research Center)
A recent study about statistics on gun violence in America showed that 38% of gun owners use them for hunting, while 30% own firearms to indulge in shooting as a sport. Gun owners living in cities and suburbs are more likely to cite home security, safety, and protection as the primary reason.
36. Less than 1% of victims of non-fatal attacks use guns for self-defense.
(US Department of Justice), (Wiley Online Library)
An analysis done by the US Department of Justice has shown that actual instances of gun use for self-defense are too low to justify carrying firearms in public. The widespread presence of arms ends up making conflicts deadlier than they have to be.
Moreover, guns in homes raise to several degrees the risk of domestic gun violence. Statistics show that a gun in a house with a history of domestic violence increases the chance that a woman will be killed by 500%. A suicide using a firearm also becomes that much easier when a gun is close at hand at home.
37. Concealed carry permit laws can lead to increases in violent crimes by 13-15%.
(Wiley Online Library)
A Stanford study on the trends in gun violence has shown that states that have enacted expansive laws that permit carrying firearms, mainly for self-defense, end up experiencing a significant rise in violent crimes within a decade.
38. Gunshot victims require 10 times more blood compared to victims of other trauma.
A recent study, for instance, found that the average cost of transfusing patients with gun injuries was more than $11,000. This is almost twice the cost for victims of other types of traumatic injuries. In extreme cases, the price can go up to $126,000. Gun violence stats further stress that gunshot victims are 5 times more likely to need blood transfusion than other injury patients and 14 times more likely to die.
39. America’s handgun sales grew by nearly 65% in October 2020 compared to the same month in 2019.
There was a significant growth in handgun sales during the pandemic — about one million handguns were sold in October 2020. This is a staggering 65% increase.
However, it was in March 2020 when the sales of handguns reached a high-time record of over 2.5 million. Notably, this event coincided with the coronavirus outbreak, giving people varying opinions.
Additionally, people also purchase pistol cleaning equipment to ensure their handguns don’t jam upon using in self-defense.
US Gun Ownership and Gun Violence Statistics
40. 42% of households in the US own one or more firearms.
The percentage of firearm-owning households in the US has hovered around the 42% to 45% mark since 1972. This reflects the cultural significance and symbolic power gun ownership has in the US, which goes well beyond the apparent pros and cons of owning firearms. Almost half of the civilian-owned guns in the world are in the US.
41. A cheap pistol and a single box of defensive rounds can be bought in the US for $250.
Easy gun availability has always been a significant issue in the gun debate, as some gun violence statistics in the US have shown. Of course, guns come in broad ranges, with 66revolvers available even at $200 and a top-of-the-line rifle setting you back by $10,000. The overall cost of being a responsible gun owner can be substantial with ammunition, accessories, lessons and range fees, and administrative expenses.
42. A white US citizen is twice as likely to own a firearm as a black citizen.
Tying into the previous point about firearms being a luxury is the finding from gun violence stats in America that while 39% of white citizens in the US own a personal firearm, the rate among black citizens is less than half at 18.1%.
Similarly, the rates for Hispanic and non-Hispanic citizens are notably different at 15.2% and 36%. The benefits of the 2nd Amendment do not seem to be available equally to all sections of American society.
43. 45% of American males personally owned a gun.
The gun violence statistics by gender do not come as a surprise as it’s expected that men are more likely to own a gun personally than women do. A recent Gallup survey shows that 32% of US adults personally possess a firearm. Of this, 45% are men while women account for only 19%. Other resources have claimed that the gender gap in gun ownership is shrinking over the years.
Facts About Gun Violence in America
Gun control advocates claim that one of the solutions for high crime rates and a number of deaths is better gun control.
However, the gun industry and the lobbyists disagree. Yes, it is a big surprise.
44. 21% of Americans agree new gun control laws will lessen mass shooting incidence to a great extent.
While many countries believe that strict gun control measures can significantly reduce mass shootings, only 21% of Americans agree on this. The majority of Americans give more importance to protecting their rights to gun ownership.
But in other countries, such as Canada, for instance, it’s the exact opposite. The facts about gun violence in Canada show that 65% of Canadians approve of the complete banning of civilian-owned assault weapons, while 44% said similarly for handguns.
45. States with stricter gun control laws witness fewer gun-related deaths.
Studies on crime rate statistics have found that while factors like high population, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness do not correlate with gun deaths, states with tighter gun control laws do tend to experience fewer gun-related deaths, just as states with most gun violence have the most relaxed gun laws. Statistics on gun violence in the US repeatedly show that new legal restrictions on owning and purchasing guns tend to be followed by a drop in gun violence.
46. 19 US states have passed red flag gun laws.
Red flag laws—measures to keep guns away from people who show signs of volatility—were in place in only five states before the Parkland mass shooting. School shootings in the US typically had little effect on gun politics in the country, but the impact of the Parkland incident has been different. Out of the many bills introduced after it, those in eight more states became laws.
Recently, US President Biden’s administration has initiated legislative steps to address the alarming gun violence in America. Stats show there are 19 states and Washington DC that have adopted the same legislation.
47. Less than 10% of Americans are members of the NRA.
An often overlooked point on the NRA is that its impact on the gun debate has vastly been overstated. Its spending on lobbying hasn’t been that high lately, either. Maybe instead of battling it out with the NRA, a more effective way forward for the increasing number of people in favor of gun control might be to focus on gun education and on convincing the public to back anti-gun legislation with votes.
48. Policies that limit access to guns also lead to a decrease in suicide rates.
(Reuters, The Sydney Morning Herald)
Gun violence facts show that firearms are by far the most successful way to commit suicide, with a success rate of 96.5%. It has also been found that US states with the highest gun ownership have the highest reported suicides.
On the other hand, when countries reduce access to arms, as has been seen in Australia, there is a sharp decrease in a short period in the rates of suicide attempts. It is estimated that Australia has a little over 3.5 million firearms, of which only 11.5% are believed to be unregistered.
49. On average, 10 gun homicides happen on college campuses per year.
(Every Town Research)
Policies allowing firearms in universities increase the incidence of gun violence on college campuses. Statistics show that an average of 10 gun homicides on college campuses every year. If there are about 20 million students attending universities or colleges, can you imagine how many lives are at risk?
50. 60% of Americans favor more strict gun laws.
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, most of the respondents (60%) say they want more strict gun laws in America. Gun violence statistics show that the percentage of individuals in favor of more stringent gun laws across the country has been steadily increasing. This only indicates more citizens believe implementing strict gun laws is the key to curbing the rising gun deaths in the US.
51.Alaska is the best state for responsible gun owners.
Statewide gun ownership regulations are almost non-existent in the country. Somehow, this could be one of the contributing factors to the increasing gun violence in the US statistics are showing us. However, some states practice responsible gun use.
Alaska tops the list with a Gun Friendly Index (GFI) of 122.90. There’s no waiting period to own a gun in the state. Moreover, universal background checks and restrictions on assault weapons or magazine capacity are also not practiced.
The statistics further reveal Arizona in the second spot, with a GFI: 119.26. On the contrary, New York is the worst state for responsible gun owners.
52. Around 93.5% of murder victims in Chicago in 2021 were killed by gunfire.
One of the most disturbing facts about gun violence in Chicago is that it continues to grow, fueled by gang shootouts. 797 people were slain in 2021, 745 of them by gunfire. 649 victims were black, and there were 108 casualties under 19. After a decline from the 90s to the early 2000s, the numbers have been growing.
Despite a functioning criminal justice system in the US and most socio-economic metrics being comparable with the best in the world, the rate of gun-related homicides and suicides is abnormally high. Another key insight we can derive from the worldwide gun violence statistics is that gun violence is not uniformly critical everywhere in the world.
Moreover, they also show that in most countries that top the list of firearm-related deaths, the reasons are different from the reasons in the US.
We hope you find these statistics helpful. You gain a clearer understanding of the seriousness of the problem and develop a more informed viewpoint on an important and often divisive political issue.
People Also Ask
To answer this question, we’ll make use of the daily gun deaths record of 500. Doing simple mathematical computation, we arrive at an answer – 182,500. This means there are more than 180,000 people killed by guns worldwide every year.
Since 1966, there have been 164 incidences of mass shootings recorded worldwide. Of this number, more than half occurred since 2000, while 33% since 2010. What’s alarming is that 20% of the cases happened in the last five years.
The United States leads the world in mass shootings. A recent study finds that despite having only 5% of the global population, the country is home to a 31% share of the world’s mass shooters.
Brazil holds the record of having the highest number of gun deaths worldwide, with 43,200 casualties out of the 250,000 global total. However, in terms of the rate of violent gun deaths per 100,000 people, El Salvador ranks first, with a 36.78% gun death rate based on gun violence statistics.
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Amnesty International
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- Every Town Research
- Every Town Research
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- Guns Magazine
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- Our World in Data
- Pew Research Center
- Small Alarms Survey
- Stanford Children’s Health
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- World Population Review
- World Population Review
- World Population Review