Facts and Fallacies
• Every day on average, 55 people kill themselves with a firearm, and 46 people are shot or killed in an accident with a gun.
• The U.S. firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population.
• A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.
• An average of seven children and teens under the age of 20 are killed by guns every day... 11 times as often as children in other high-income countries.
• 90% Americans agree that we should have universal background checks, including 75% of NRA members.
10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down • The Truth about Background Checks • Stand Your Ground Makes No Sense • Debunking the “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People” Myth • Never Mind New Guns Laws—The NRA Keeps Weakening the Existing Ones • The Wild West World of Online Gun Exchanges • Debunking “Criminals Don’t Follow Laws”
Guns make it far more likely that domestic abuse will turn into murder. In fact, when a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, it increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%. And it's domestic violence - not terrorism, not a “disgruntled worker” - that actually drives the majority of mass shootings.
Gaps in our background check laws let prohibited domestic violence offenders easily evade background checks and buy guns from unlicensed sellers in most states. And many states lack adequate mechanisms to ensure domestic abusers who own guns turn them in when they become prohibited.
Mass shootings - like many other forms of gun violence - are a largely American phenomenon. Despite have only 5% of the global population, the US accounted for 31% of all mass shootings between 1966 and 2012.
The guns used in mass shootings are typically purchased legally... which only shows how it is far, far too easy for high-capacity weapons (many of which were never intended for non-military use) to get into dangerous hands.
Despite the opinions of some, there is no credible research to indicate that the presence of additional guns during a mass shooting - or whether a particular location is a so-called "gun free zone" - would serve as either a deterrent or save lives.
Often lost in the gun violence discussion is the fact that - every year - suicides make up appoximately 2/3's of the total gun deaths. While it's argued that this is a "mental health issue" and therefore has nothing to do with guns, what we know about the impulsive nature of suicide - coupled with research that says that most who attempt suicide with a method other than a gun and "fail" do not try again - indicates otherwise.
Easy access to guns surely plays a role - as "the nine states (in America) that rank lowest in terms of gun prevalence are the very same nine that rank lowest for suicide rates. Similarly, the three states top-ranked for gun prevalence can be found among the four states ranking highest for suicide rates". (Source)
Contrary to how neatly the crisis of urban violence fits into the narrative of many, one can't talk about it fairly without talking about the ease with which guns flow into urban areas from states with weak gun laws. Chicago would not be "Chicago" without Indiana and the Northeast would not be awash in guns without the Iron Pipeline.
Without universal background checks that include private sales at gun shows and without tougher trafficking laws, there is virtually nothing stopping an individual from unloading legally-purchased guns on the streets of major cities... and profiting greatly in the process.
It's estimated that up to 2 million children in America live in homes with unsecured guns and, seemingly every day, there's a news story about how a child was able to access one of these guns and cause harm to themselves or a family member.
To put it another way, so far in 2016, one is far more likely to be shot and killed by a toddler than by a terrorist.
These needless, unintentional deaths are largely preventable if those that consider themselves responsible gun owners would exercise the same care with their guns as they do with their household cleaning supplies.