Fast Facts about Firearm Violence Prevention
An introduction to how the CDC views firearm safety, firearm violence prevention, definitions, and some numbers to think about. More Detail. It is not an attack on your ownership of a bullet-spewing-weapon. It is a recital of what they are seeing from the numbers reported. If you own a firearm, you do have an obligation to ensure its safe usage and storage.
“Fast Facts: Firearm Violence Prevention, Violence Prevention, and Injury Center,” CDC.
What is a firearm injury?
Firearm injuries are gunshot wounds or penetrating injuries from a weapon using a powder charge to fire a projectile. Weapons using a powder charge include handguns, rifles, and shotguns. Injuries from air- and gas-powered guns, BB guns, and pellet guns are not considered firearm injuries. These types of guns do not use a powder charge to fire a projectile.
What are the different types of firearm injuries?
There are many types of firearm injuries, which can be fatal or nonfatal:
- Intentionally self-inflicted
- Includes firearm suicide or nonfatal self-harm injury from a firearm.
- Includes fatal or nonfatal firearm injuries happening while someone is cleaning, playing with a firearm, or other incidents of an accidental firing without evidence of intentional harm
- Interpersonal violence
- Includes firearm homicide or nonfatal assault injury from a firearm
- Legal intervention
- Includes firearm injuries inflicted by the police or other law enforcement agents acting in the line of duty
- For example, firearm injuries that occur while arresting or attempting to arrest someone, maintaining order, or ensuring safety
- The term legal intervention is a commonly used external cause of injury classification. It does not indicate the legality of the circumstances surrounding the death.
- Includes firearm injuries inflicted by the police or other law enforcement agents acting in the line of duty
- Undetermined intent
- Includes firearm injuries where there is not enough information to determine whether the injury was intentionally self-inflicted, unintentional, the result of legal intervention, or from an act of interpersonal violence.
How common are firearm injuries?
Firearm injuries are a serious public health problem. In 2020, there were 45,222 firearm-related deaths in the United States. About 124 people were dying from a firearm-related injury each day. More than half of firearm-related deaths were suicides and more than 4 out of every 10 were firearm homicides.
More people suffer nonfatal firearm-related injuries than die. Seven of every 10 medically treated firearm injuries are from firearm-related assaults. Nearly 2 out of every 10 are from unintentional firearm injuries. There are few intentionally self-inflicted firearm-related injuries seen in hospital emergency departments. Most people who use a firearm in a suicide attempt, die from their injury.
Firearm injuries affect people in all stages of life. In 2020, firearm-related injuries were among the 5 leading causes of death for people ages 1-44 in the United States.
Some groups have higher rates of firearm injury than others. Men account for 86% of all victims of firearm death and 87% of nonfatal firearm injuries. Rates of firearm violence also vary by age and race/ethnicity. Firearm homicide rates are highest among teens and young adults 15-34 years of age. Occurring mostly among Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic or Latino populations. Firearm suicide rates are highest among adults 75 years of age and older and among American Indian or Alaska Native and non-Hispanic white populations.
What is defensive gun use? How often does it occur?
Definitions of defensive gun use vary, it is generally defined as the use of a firearm to protect and defend oneself, family, other people, and/or property against crime or victimization.
Estimates of defensive gun use vary depending on the questions asked, populations studied, timeframe, and other factors related to study design. Given the wide variability in estimates, additional research is necessary to understand defensive gun use prevalence, frequency, circumstances, and outcomes.
What are the consequences of firearm violence?
People who survive a firearm-related injury may experience long-term consequences. These include problems with memory, thinking, emotions, and physical disability from injury to the brain; paralysis from injury to the spinal cord; and chronic mental health problems from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
The effects of firearm violence extend beyond victims and their families. Shooting incidents, including those in homes, schools, houses of worship, workplaces, shopping areas, on the street or at community events can affect the sense of safety and security of entire communities and impact everyday decisions.
The economic impact of firearm violence is also substantial. Firearm violence costs the United States tens of billions of dollars each year in medical and lost productivity costs.
What is CDC’s role in firearm violence prevention?
CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) is the nation’s leading public health authority on violence and injury prevention for nearly 30 years. Firearm violence has tremendous impact on American’s overall safety and wellbeing. Using a public health approach is essential to addressing firearm violence and keeping people safe and healthy.
CDC’s approach to preventing firearm injuries focuses on three elements: providing data to inform action; conducting research and applying science to identify effective solutions; and promoting collaboration across multiple sectors to address the problem.
How can you safely store your firearm?
It is important to store all firearms safely when not in use. Putting a firearm out of sight or out of reach is not safe storage and not enough to prevent use by children or unauthorized adults.
Resources are available to help firearm owners consider the best options for safely storing firearms. For example, the Veteran’s Administration, in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, has released Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business: A Toolkit for Safe Firearm Storage. This toolkit describes methods for safe storage and provides guidance to enhance safe storage practices in your community.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Project ChildSafe emphasizes the importance of storing firearms unloaded and locked, with ammunition secured separately. They provide safety kits, brochures, tip sheets, and other educational materials and resources.
Please note that these examples are not meant to be a complete list of resources for safe firearm storage and other resources are available.
Data Detailing Types of Guns and Deaths in the U.S., Angry Bear.
Gun Shot Injury Costs are Twice Other Hospital Costs, Angry Bear.
As police investigate the circumstances that led to a 6-year-old boy allegedly shooting and injuring a teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, Friday…
…The family said the “firearm our son accessed was secured.”
If I take the family at their word, then I am forced to conclude that it’s just not possible to keep a gun out of the hands of a six year old. If they are being dishonest, then training doesn’t matter when it isn’t followed and can’t be enforced.
but there is good news:
Following the shooting, the school closed for roughly three weeks and returned with added security measures including metal detectors and clear backpacks.
Problem solved. Guns don’t kill people, opaque backpacks do. This is a six year old. Doesn’t know long division yet, but he knows how to handle a gun. Maybe my auditory canals are over stimulated, but this whole episode is screaming social pathology to me. Or is it perfectly sensible that we’re pushing first graders through metal detectors and regulating their school backpacks?
Colorado’s first year of extreme risk protection orders
Criminal Justice and Suicide Outcomes with Indiana’s Risk-Based Gun Seizure Law
Maybe daddy takes him to the pistol range and has him squeeze off a couple of rounds. And then he watches daddy reload. Six-year-olds are not stupid either.
Maybe he with mom and dad watches police stories. He gets the idea criminals who cause people harm arm shot. Obviously, something ran through his immature mind. How did he get the trigger lock off and get to the top shelf of the closet? A single bound maybe?
Have you been stopped by the police lately? When they come to your car, they wear more weapons and body armor than I wore in the Corps. Officer, I was just speeding 10 mph over. I didn’t know we were going to war too . . . besides getting a ticket. The mentality is I (we) are in a fight for our lives. How did that translate to a six-year-old?
The more weapons in a house the greater the risk.
It’s off topic and a tragic anecdote but a six year old is a fantastical, most interesting being possible. Just spend 20 minutes thinking about first grade and what you were doing there. I still have two drinking buddies I met in first grade 65 yrs ago. This act was reasoned by a six yr old mind not an 18 yr old adults. It’s possible that the child and his parents watched Dirty Harry for movie night and the entire family was imprinted at the exact same time. Guns are not the problem, destructive as firearms are they are just a misused tool. Some sensible regulation and insurance would go a long way to dampen some damage but that half the deaths are suicides and many of the others are collateral damage from a suicide in progress some mental health money could be of benefit. I have no knowledge of the six yr old in the story but maybe some socialization before the first grade might be beneficial for everyone involved society included.
Sorry, it is not the topic here. The bullet-spewing-weapon was left out, loaded, and within reach. Not much the parents can say there. Except, I am sorry and take their punishment.
Not that my story establishes any notion of a solution, but just some irony to chew on. I was taught to shoot at age 6 YO. Guns were stored loaded and unlocked in our home. Our little black and white TV saw more shot ’em bang-bang westerns from Randolf Scott to John Wayne early B’s than any other form of entertainment. This was typical of rural homes in the 50’s. Even forty years later my dad was still the only man that I had ever feared. That was mostly typical of the times also.
Most likely the best that we can do will be some piecemeal attempts at regulatory responses which will be limited in scope by the conflicted nature of personal freedoms insured by the state and a state maintained by a privately financed competitive system of electoral politics. On the one hand we can pander to freedom from fear and on the other hand we can pander to freedom to make others fearful. From the noble savage fallacy through Carl Jung’s burgeoning neuroses in western civilization and Maggie Meade’s Coming of Age in Samoa we have been lead to understand man’s inhumanity to man as existing primarily in the domain of modern civilization. However, this simplistic view of the dichotomy of good and evil in mankind is as much a myth as modern civilization itself. If mankind is lucky enough to exist for another 100,000 years, then just how much of a modern civilization would we expect our current era to be in those future minds?
IOW, we are all born into the world in which we live and with only a rare few exceptions a blank slate with respect to personality development. Then we all experience socialization within that world beginning with maternal nurturing and, hopefully, the rudimentary development of empathy. Continued socialization as a developmental process occurs within the domain of each individual’s relative social structure, not withstanding individual predilection to either accept or reject the status quo. The social desire to programmatically socialize children in an idyllic fashion is belied by our inability to comprehend personality beyond the limitations of MBTI or the Five Factor Model in characterizing personality as primarily the false dichotomy between introversion and extroversion?
Hint: According to Jung there can be among personality possibilities, individuals that display either extroverted introversion or introverted extroversion. One is a well adjusted personality and the other is dark and destructive. Neither MBTI nor FFM recognize the existence of either one.
I was fascinated with guns when I was a kid, in the John Wayne/Davy Crocket era.
I was permitted to own a .22 semi-auto rifle at an early age, and managed to terrorize our neighbors on my shooting expeditions in the woods behind our house. I’ll skip the details, but they were justifiably worried for their safety. And some years later, in the Vietnam era I somewhat inadvertantly ended up training to be a USArmy combat infantryman – that was my last experience with firearms, but it was a pretty thorough one, though in the end not involving me in any combat.
I have gotten over my interest in firearms, and you can too.
I never had any fascination with firearms. Game provided most of the meat when I was growing up, hence making firearms useful. I was lucky enough to neither kill nor be killed in Vietnam. I have not fired anything larger than a .177 pellet gun since then and it has been nearly forty years since I last skinned a squirrel. I have my dad’s guns stored in the basement, but have not fired any of them since I inherited them in 2002.
When one draws first blood with an axe chopping off a chicken’s head, then that may take some of the romance out of killing.
America’s obsession with guns is paired with a national pride in violence. America was founded in blood and has bathed in it for its entire existence. Americans are taught from birth that violence is the first and most appropriate response to any situation from someone accidentally jostling you in a crowd to some foreign brown people burning your flag in protest. Punch, shoot, bomb. That’s the American Way.
Take away America’s guns. It has demonstrated that it is not mature or sane enough to own them.