The debate over whether the right to bear arms protects or harms the American population is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. However, a new study presents some cold, hard facts that paint a pretty clear picture of the damage that guns are doing across the country.
Appearing in the American Journal of Medicine, the paper provides an in-depth look at mortality figures gathered by the World Health Organization in 2010, which detail the number of deaths caused by guns in various countries around the world. Astonishingly, the statistics show that the number of Americans per 100,000 killed by guns that year was 10 times higher than the corresponding figure across 22 other high-income nations (defined by their membership to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development).
This number covers all firearm deaths, including homicides, suicides, and accidents. When adjusted to represent only homicides, the number was found to be 3.6 per 100,000 people – which is 25.2 times higher than in the other 22 countries. The U.S. firearm homicide rate was also found to be seven times greater than that of Canada, which was second on the list. Korea, meanwhile, had the lowest gun murder rate of all nations included in the study, with just 0.006 per 100,000 – 600 times lower than that of the U.S.
Breaking the data down further, the study provides details of how different age groups and demographics were affected by gun violence in 2010. The group most at risk of being violently killed with a firearm were those aged between 15 and 24, who were 49 times more likely to suffer such a fate than their counterparts in the other 22 countries.
Although the population of the U.S. is roughly half that of the other nations combined, 82 percent of all firearm deaths took place on American soil. Additionally, 90 percent of all women killed by guns were American, as were 91 percent of all children under the age of 14 who died from gunshots.
Taking these shocking statistics into account, the study authors are unequivocal in their conclusion: “These results are consistent with the hypothesis that our firearms are killing us rather than protecting us.”