Resilience, Peace and Security

Chart of day: The link between gun ownership and gun deaths

A man fires his handgun along a mountain range in Buckeye, Arizona January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joshua Lott (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY)

After another school shooting in the U.S, this chart shows how gun ownership is linked to gun violence. Image: REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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Another high school shooting has focussed attention once again on guns in the United States. The death of at least 17 people in Florida has re-ignited discussions about gun ownership and control.

Some 40% of Americans say they live in a household with a gun, while 30% say they themselves own a gun, according to a Pew Research Center survey from last year.

Higher levels of gun ownership are linked to higher gun-related deaths, as this chart from Mother Jones, an investigative reporting magazine, shows. It’s worth noting, though, that the data is from 2013, so the precise picture is likely to have changed.

Gun ownership versus gun deaths
Image: Mother Jones

Alaska stands out at the top of the chart, while Rhode Island, New Jersey and Massachusetts are notable for their low ownership and low number of deaths.

More than 30,000 people are killed by firearms in the US each year. The vast majority are suicides. Data suggests this number is on the rise: 38,000 people were killed by firearms in 2016, up from an average of 33,000 from 2012-2014.

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