This was a response to Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Reddit (source):
You are just another politician who has no idea how firearms work, and how to actually look up the facts on gun violence. Instead of going at people’s heartstrings and trying to strip rights, how about putting some thought into it, and bring up some actual proposals. Proposals that are rooted in reality.
The ACTUAL facts about gun violence in America
There are about 30,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms, this number is not disputed. (1)
U.S. population 328 million as of January 2018. (2)
Do the math: 0.00915% of the population dies from gun related actions each year.
Statistically speaking, this is insignificant. It’s not even a rounding error.
What is not insignificant, however, is a breakdown of those 30,000 deaths:
• 22,938 (76%) are by suicide which can’t be prevented by gun laws (3)
• 987 (3%) are by law enforcement, thus not relevant to Gun Control discussion. (4)
• 489 (2%) are accidental (5)
So no, “gun violence” isn’t 30,000 annually, but rather 5,577… 0.0017% of the population.
Still too many? Let’s look at location:
298 (5%) – St Louis, MO (6)
327 (6%) – Detroit, MI (6)
328 (6%) – Baltimore, MD (6)
764 (14%) – Chicago, IL (6)
That’s over 30% of all gun crime. In just 4 cities.
This leaves 3,856 for for everywhere else in America… about 77 deaths per state. Obviously some States have higher rates than others
Yes, 5,577 is absolutely horrific, but let’s think for a minute…
But what about other deaths each year?
70,000+ die from a drug overdose (7)
49,000 people die per year from the flu (8)
37,000 people die per year in traffic fatalities (9)
Now it gets interesting:
250,000+ people die each year from preventable medical errors. (10)
You are safer in Chicago than when you are in a hospital!
610,000 people die per year from heart disease (11)
Even a 10% decrease in cardiac deaths would save about twice the number of lives annually of all gun-related deaths (including suicide, law enforcement, etc.).
A 10% reduction in medical errors would be 66% of the total gun deaths or 4 times the number of criminal homicides.
Simple, easily preventable, 10% reductions!
We don’t have a gun problem… We have a political agenda and media sensationalism problem.
Here are some statistics about defensive gun use in the U.S. as well.
Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010).
That’s a minimum 500,000 incidents/assaults deterred, if you were to play devil’s advocate and say that only 10% of that low end number is accurate, then that is still more than the number of deaths, even including the suicides.
Older study, 1995:
The most technically sound estimates presented in Table 2 are those based on the shorter one-year recall period that rely on Rs’ first-hand accounts of their own experiences (person-based estimates). These estimates appear in the first two columns. They indicate that each year in the U.S. there are about 2.2 to 2.5 million DGUs of all types by civilians against humans, with about 1.5 to 1.9 million of the incidents involving use of handguns.
r/dgu is a great sub to pay attention to, when you want to know whether or not someone is defensively using a gun
(stats halved as reported statistics cover 2 years, single year statistics not found)