The names alone conjure up the horror and the feeling of paralysis around gun violence in the United States. But wrenching as they are, neither the names nor the headlines nor the endless video loops convey the true toll from guns. No other high-income nation in the world comes close to America’s firearm death rate.
The U.S. gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than in other affluent countries; for 15- to 24-year-olds, the rate is 49 times higher. The firearm-related suicide rate is eight times higher. These disproportionately high gun death rates do not reflect America’s global ranking in overall homicides (112th in the world) or suicides (50th). While overall gun death rates in other affluent countries have dropped in recent years, rates in the U.S. have remained unchanged.
DAVID HEMENWAY PROFESSOR OF HEALTH POLICY DIRECTOR, HARVARD INJURY CONTROL RESEARCH CENTER
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