Arthur Kellermann

Everything you ever wanted to know about gun violence in America

The Atlantic has put together some proper facts and¬†statistics¬†about “gun violence” in America. I think you will be surprised, particularly those of you like the dick Piers Morgan who call for assault rifle bans just how few deaths are caused byt people armed with assault rifles:

How much gun violence is there in the U.S.?

There were 8,583 homicides by firearms in 2011, out of 12,664 homicides total, according to the FBI. This means that more than two-thirds of homicides involve a firearm. 6,220 of those homicides by firearm (72%) are known to have involved a handgun.

It’s worth noting that violent crime rates of all types have been¬†steadily decreasing¬†since the early 1990s. No one is quite sure what is causing this decrease, though there are¬†many theories, ranging from tighter gun control laws to more innovative policing and changes in the drug market. Whatever the cause of this decline, America still has a homicide rate of¬†4.7¬†murders per 100,000 people, which is one of the highest of all developed countries (see:¬†international comparison).

Gun violence also affects more than its victims. In areas where it is prevalent, just the threat of violence makes neighborhoods poorer. It’s very difficult to quantify the total harm caused by gun violence, but by asking many people how much they would pay to avoid this threat — a technique called¬†contingent valuation¬†– researchers have estimated a cost to American society of¬†$100 billion dollars.

Guns are also involved in suicides and accidents. 19,392 of 38,264 suicides in 2010 involved a gun (50%), according to the¬†CDC. There were 606 firearm-related accidents in the same year — about 5% of the number of intentional gun deaths.

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