Gun deaths are a serious public health issue in the United States and the scope of the problem is often difficult to illustrate. A new study published in The American Journal of Medicine lays out the risk in concrete terms. When compared to 22 other high-income nations, Americans are ten times more likely to be killed by a gun than their counterparts in the developed world. Specifically, gun homicide rates are 25 times higher in the U.S. and, while the overall suicide rate is on par with other high-income nations, the U.S. gun suicide rate is eight times higher.
In order to help put America’s relationship with guns into perspective, researchers from the University of Nevada-Reno and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed mortality data gathered by the World Health Organization in 2010. Investigators found that despite having similar rates of nonlethal crimes as other high-income countries, the U.S. has much higher rates of lethal violence, mostly driven by extremely higher rates of gun-related homicides.
The study reveals some stark truths about living and dying in the United States. When compared to other high-income nations, as an American you are:
• Seven times more likely to be violently killed
• Twenty-five times more likely to be violently killed with a gun
• Six times more likely to be accidentally killed with a gun
• Eight times more likely to commit suicide using a gun
• Ten times more likely to die from a firearm death overall
Homicide is the second leading cause of death for Americans 15 to 24 years of age, and the third leading cause of death among those 25 to 34 years of age.
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