Data Detailing Types of Guns and Deaths in the U.S.

“What the data says about gun deaths in the U.S.,” by John Gramlich a[[ears to be an open-ended study. It does not condemn any particular weapon, style of weapons, or bullet-spewing weapons in general. I find it curious the author does not take a closer look at the assault weapons used today which are found to have killed multiple people in any one instance. Are we still at the stage of seeing the worst to come with these?

What he does say is all bullet-spewing-weapons are dangerous and then leaves it. I would find some being more dangerous than others for various reasons.

“Data detailing and explaining gun deaths in the U.S.”

Altered lead line to a Harvard Medical School News and Media article. It is no secret or exaggeration to say guns (or bullet-spewing-weapons [my label]) are responsible for the loss of thousands of lives yearly. The loss has been going on for decades. And still, we find ourselves at the same mile post on the road contemplating a solution.

More Information from answering questions . . .

How many people die from gun-related injuries in the U.S. each year?

A 2020 PEW Research Center analysis of data taken from the CDC, FBI and other sources found 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the United States. This was more than any other year on record.

Despite the increase in such fatalities, the rate of gun deaths is below the statistical levels of earlier years. Population increase . . .

In the 45,222 deaths numeric are murders and suicides by using guns. Included also are three other and less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC:

  • those that were unintentional,
  • those that involved law enforcement, and
  • those whose circumstances could not be determined.

The total excludes deaths in which gunshot injuries did not play a principal, role. (CDC fatality statistics are based on information contained in official death certificates, identifying a single cause of death.)

The share of U.S. gun deaths which are murders and the share being suicides.

Suicide again account for the majority of U.S. gun deaths as it has for many years. Suicides get less public attention than gun-related murders. Indeed, many owners do not view this as being a societal issue as it typically only hurts the person taking their life. According to the CDC in 2020, Fifty -four percent of all gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides (24,292). The second largest gun related number reported by the CDC was 43% being murders (19,384). Other gun related deaths (2020) were unintentional (535), involved law enforcement (611) or had undetermined circumstances (400).

What share of all murders and suicides in the U.S. involve a gun?

Nearly eight-in-ten (79%) U.S. murders in 2020 or 19,384 of 24,576 involved a firearm. It was the highest percentage since 1968 (earliest year for online records). A little over half (53%) of all suicides in 2020 or 24,292 of 45,979 involved a gun. This percentage has generally remained the same in recent years.

How has the number of U.S. gun deaths changed over time?

The 45,222 total gun deaths in 2020 were the most on record. It represents;

  • a 14% increase from the year before,
  • a 25% increase from five years earlier, and
  • a 43% increase from a decade prior.

Obviously, gun murders have been increasing in recent years and the increases really have not struck home for owners and politicians.

Some more data conclusions on murders. The 2020 gun caused 19,384 murders were the most since 1968 when using computer data. Twenty-twenty’s murders were exceeding the previous peak of 18,253 recorded (CDC) in 1993. The 2020 total represented a 34% increase from 2019, a 49% increase over five years and a 75% increase over 10 years.

Number of gun suicides has also risen in recent years. The number climbing 10% over five years and 25% over 10 years. 2020 Suicides is near its highest point on record (1968). The 24,292 gun suicides taking place in 2020 were the most in any year except 2018, when there were 24,432.

How has the rate of U.S. gun deaths changed over time?

The high total number of gun death statistics in the U.S. does not take into account the nation’s growing population. On a per capita basis, there were 13.6 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2020 and the highest rate since the mid-1990s. However, this is well below the peak of 16.3 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 1974.

Gun murder and suicide rates in the U.S. both are below their peak levels. There were 6.2 gun murders per 100,000 people in 2020. This is below the rate of 7.2 recorded in 1974.

And there were 7.0 gun suicides per 100,000 people in 2020. This is below the rate of 7.7 measured in 1977.

(One caveat when considering the 1970s figures: In the CDC’s database, gun murders and gun suicides between 1968 and 1978 are classified as those caused by firearms and explosives. In subsequent years, they are classified as deaths involving firearms only.)

States with the Highest and Lowest Gun Death Rates?

The rate of gun fatalities varies widely from state to state.

The states with the highest rates of gun-related deaths in 2020? Counting murders, suicides and all other categories tracked by the CDC, Mississippi at 28.6 per 100,000 people has the highest rate. Louisiana (26.3), Wyoming (25.9), Missouri (23.9) and Alabama (23.6) followed up Mississippi.

The states with the lowest gun related death rates included New York (5.3). Rhode Island (5.1), New Jersey (5.0), Massachusetts (3.7) and Hawaii (3.4) followed up New York.

AB: The next comparison I believe will likely be large.

How does the gun death rate in the U.S. compare with other countries?

The gun death rate in the U.S. is higher than in many other nations. It is particularly so when compared with developed nations and is still far below the rates in some Latin American countries. This is according to a 2018 study of 195 countries and territories by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

The U.S. gun death rate was 10.6 per 100,000 people in 2016, the most recent year in the study, which used a somewhat different methodology from the CDC. US death rate was higher than in countries such as Canada (2.1 per 100,000) and Australia (1.0), as well as European nations such as France (2.7), Germany (0.9) and Spain (0.6).

The rate in the U.S. was lower than in El Salvador (39.2 per 100,000 people), Venezuela (38.7), Guatemala (32.3), Colombia (25.9) and Honduras (22.5). Overall, the U.S. ranked 20th in its gun fatality rate in 2016’s Global Ranking.

People killed in mass shootings in the U.S. every year?

There is no single, agreed-upon definition of the term “mass shooting.” Definitions vary depending on factors including the number of victims and the circumstances of the shooting. It is a difficult question to answer. Here are some comparisons . . .

The FBI collects data on “active shooter incidents,” which it defines as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” Using the FBI’s definition, 38 people – excluding the shooters – died in such incidents in 2020.

The Gun Violence Archive, an online database of gun violence incidents in the U.S., defines mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people are shot, even if no one was killed (again excluding the shooters). Using this definition, 513 people died in these incidents in 2020.

Regardless of the definition being used, fatalities in mass shooting incidents in the U.S. account for a small fraction of all gun murders that occur nationwide each year.

AB: I am not sure how this number is calculated. If twenty people kill 20 people, how does this compare to one person killing 20 people? What is happening with the advent of higher capacity magazines, bump stocks. altered weapons, and regular design automatic weapons, one person has the ability to kill the same as 20 people. I believe the author does not consider this in his conclusion. Perhaps, he needs another metric?

How has the number of mass shootings in the U.S. changed over time?

The same interpretational issue making it challenging to arrive at an exact number of mass shooting fatalities comes into play again when trying to determine the frequency of U.S. mass shootings over time. The unpredictability of these incidents also complicates matters.

As Rand Corp. noted in a research brief, “Chance variability in the annual number of mass shooting incidents makes it challenging to discern a clear trend, and trend estimates will be sensitive to outliers and to the time frame chosen for analysis.

The FBI discovered increases in active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2020. There were three such incidents in 2000. By 2020, the figure had increased to 40.

A pivotal question arises when discussing which weapons are more commonly used in shootings? Should we concentrate on those types of weapons? The author poses the question.

Which types of firearms are most commonly used in gun murders in the U.S.?

In 2020, handguns were involved in 59% of the 13,620 U.S. gun murders and non-negligent manslaughters for which data is available, according to the FBI.

Rifles is the category including guns sometimes referred to as “assault weapons.” Assault weapons were involved in 3% of firearm murders. Shotguns were involved in 1%. The remainder of gun homicides and non-negligent manslaughters (36%) involved other kinds of firearms or those classified as “type not stated.”

It’s important to note that the FBI’s statistics do not capture the details on all gun murders in the U.S. each year. The FBI’s data is based on information voluntarily submitted by police departments around the country, and not all agencies participate or provide complete information each year.

AB: I see gaps in this study involving police shootings which go unreported (the org. may not report all) and the analysis on shootings with automatic and semi-automatic weapons needs to be studied further.

Other gun shooting issues . . .

Even though federal records indicate that fatal shootings by police have been declining nationwide since 2015, The Washington Post’s Fatal Force database shows the opposite is true: Officers have shot and killed more people every year, reaching a record high in 2021 with 1,047 deaths. The FBI database contains only about one-third of the 7,000 fatal police shootings during this time — down from half when The Post first started tracking.

That is all for now. Analyzing more info.

Interesting Reads:

Gun deaths in the U.S.: 10 key questions answered, Pew Research Center, John Gramlich

There’s a new global ranking of gun deaths. Here’s where the U.S. stands, PBS NewsHour, Laura Santhanam

The Business Case For Reducing Gun Violence, Harvard Medical School, Dennis Nealon

Six countries (2018) in the Americas account for half of all firearm deaths, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (

On gun violence, the United States is an outlier, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (