Charleston shooting: One chart that reveals just how many firearm killings there are in the US

The US annual gun homicide rate is three times that of the world’s other wealthy nations

“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” Barack Obama said today in response to the killings in Charleston. “It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”

And that’s not only true of mass violence, but everyday homicides committed with guns, as you can see in the chart below.

On that point, he’s absolutely right: when it comes to gun homicide, the U.S. stands out from the rest of the world’s wealthy nations. According to homicide data collected by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and compiled by The Guardian newspaper, the U.S.’s annual gun homicide rate of 2.97 fatalities per 100,000 people is triple the rate seen in most of the world’s other wealthy nations, defined in this chart as countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It excludes Latin American countries like Mexico that have traditionally had high murder rates, often due to political instability and the drug war.

The Guardian’s Simon Rogers argued in 2012 the disproportionate share of gun violence due to the prevalence of firearms in the U.S. With nearly 1 gun for every man, woman and child in the country, the U.S. has ratios that far exceeds other countries on that measure. And the social science has also suggested the association: more guns means more crime.


Categories: Americas, United States

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