What's with the "30,000 Gun Deaths" per year number?


April 22, 2007, 11:59 PM
Since the recent Virginia Tech shootings, I've seen or read of 30,000 firearms related deaths per year in the U.S., trotted out by the anti-gun, pro gun-control talking heads.

Where do they come up with this number?

I did a quick google search and can't seem to match that number:

These list accidental firearms deaths,




This one: http://gunsafe.org/position%20statements/Guns%20and%20crime.htm


Accidental, suicide, and homicide deaths by firearm

Total accidental deaths per year (all causes), U.S....96,000

Motor vehicle accidental deaths per year...43,000

Fatal firearms accidents per year...1,100

(The firearms accidents figure is an all-time low, even though the U.S. population is at an all-time high, and gun ownership is at an all-time high.)

Fatal firearms accidents age 0-5...17

Fatal firearms accidents age 5-14...121

Fatal firearms accidents age 15-24...401

Fraction of all Emergency Room visits that involve firearms accidents...0.2%

[Centers for Disease Control, all figures]

Accidents of all kinds (not just firearms) constitute the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, but the other four leading causes combined account for 16 times as many deaths as accidents. Accidents constitute a relatively small but easily prevented cause of death.

Suicides by firearm, per year...18.000

Murders by firearm, per year...14,000

[Centers for Disease Control, both figures]

Researchers have studied the figures on firearms ownership, firearms accidents, suicides, and murders, during the period from 1959 to the present. Purpose: To find out whether accidents, suicides, or murders by firearm increase or decrease as the supply of firearms increases or decreases. Result: The rates of accidents and murders by firearms do not show any relationship to the number of guns owned by civilians. The gun supply has increased and decreased without affecting the accident or murder rates. Suicides by firearms have increased when more guns have been available, but the total suicide rate hasn’t changed; when guns are less available, people find other ways to commit suicide.

This one: http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp/2003/10/29/medical_system_is_leading_cause_of_death_and_injury_in_us.htm
states, among other things that: "the total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States."

In other words, you have a lot higher chance of death from being personally involved with the U.S. healthcare system than you do from guns. ( I note that I have nothing against the healthcare system, my father was a surgeon...)

I guess my question is, after reading/seeing that number bandied about this last week, where did they come up with that number, and, how best to refute it when it is thrown out there for the masses to read and take as the gospel, according to Sarah Brady, and her ilk?

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April 23, 2007, 12:05 AM
Use the WISQARS (http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars) tool from the CDC. It shows something on the order of 32k annual gunshot related deaths. That includes suicides (at a little over 50% usually), homicides, accidents, and other/undetermined intent gunshot deaths.

April 23, 2007, 01:15 AM
You have to remember that the anti-gun people are also counting self defense shootings in there. They just don't tell anyone that small little bit of information. A gun death is a gun death to them. Doesn't matter if the person being shot deserved it or not.

Art Eatman
April 23, 2007, 01:27 AM
Google for "homicide rates" and you'll find some Department of Justice numbers. Lotsa other stuff, of course; some of it's contradictory.

Last year, there were around 15,000 homicides in the US. That's down from a peak of around 24,000 in 1993-ish. "Homicide" includes self-defense shootings by Good Guys whether LEO or not. I've not found statistics on "good shoots".

A lot of suicdes are via firearm, which are added to homicides to come up with the exaggerated total.

Similar sort of BS game with accidental deaths for children. To me, "children" means no more tha 14. For those fourteen and under, the number is around 100 a year; 130 was a high year, back around 1993 or 1994. Total annual accidental deaths via firearm runs about 1,000 to 1,200 at most.

The Center for Disease Control has a breakdown for homicides and injuries by race and sex as well as other categories. Similarly for the DOJ.


April 23, 2007, 02:16 AM
It's certain that almost half of death by gun is suicide. Antigunner love to include these numbers since these are "easy deaths" to count. The truth is that if the people didn't have guns, they'd have killed themselves anyway, such as driving car off bridge, or use carbon monoxide or sleeping pills.

The Good
April 23, 2007, 02:19 AM
ok using that tool here is 2004:
Homicides: 17,357
Homicides by Firearm: 11,624
Unintentional Injury: 112,012
Unintentional Firearm related: 649
Suicide: 32,349
Suicide by Firearm: 16, 750
Total Firearm with Suicide: 29,023

So not including suicides, since its not hard to think of another way to off oneself, firearm deaths: 12,273
Keep in mind some of these homicides were not criminal; as was stated previously homicides include self defense shootings by citizens and police. Can anyone find the number of people killed by police in 2004 so we can subtract that as it is not relevant to a figure that is supposed to promote gun control? Also, it is not clear on the site whether those accidental deaths are also counted under homicide as an accidental shooting is usually a homicide, right?

Ok, thanks to illspirits link I found there was 9,385 MURDERS by firearm that year. Now we have a real figure.

April 23, 2007, 02:25 AM
Last year, there were around 15,000 homicides in the US. That's down from a peak of around 24,000 in 1993-ish. "Homicide" includes self-defense shootings by Good Guys whether LEO or not. I've not found statistics on "good shoots".

Apparently the FBI now tabulates justifiable homicides separate from murders. In 2005, there were 337 justifiable, fatal shoots by the LEOs (source (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_13.html)), and 143 by private citizens (source (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_14.html)). Murder, by weapon, is here (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_07.html).

April 23, 2007, 09:14 AM
1;2Justifiable Homicide Total 480
By Law Enforcement 337
By Private Citizen 143

3Murder 10,100

4Suicide (2004 Data) 16,750

4Accident (2004 Data) 649

1 http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_13.html
2 http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_14.html
3 http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_07.html
4 http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html

General info on the FBI UCR Program: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/index.html

I wonder how many of those murder victims were innocent folk disarmed by foul legislation.

April 23, 2007, 09:51 AM
Last week, some lunatic in usenet was claiming that there were 500,000 shootings a YEAR in the United States...

Baba Louie
April 23, 2007, 10:24 AM
Another interesting comparison would be percentage of homicide by firearm to overall population. With a population of 300,000,000, 11,624 is about 0.00004% (is my math right?) which some could say is an insignificant blip unless you happen to be one of those 11,000.

Or, if geographical size could be a main comparative point, since each State with our Union is sometimes the size of an entire nation in EU or elsewhere, one could compare (pick and choose based on size and pop count) CA or FL w/ Germany, France or Syria (choose your comparison states w/ qualifying justification). But I question the validity of comparing 50 united states in the Republic to, say, the Netherlands or even the Swiss.

Then there's always the comparison of a homogenous society to a "melting pot" be it racial or affluence; how many really poor, people of differing ethnicity or education are there in Switzerland or Norway? (just to pick two)

So 30,000 gun deaths is a lot. Or is it?

April 23, 2007, 10:50 AM
As Baba Louie points out, as a gross number 30,000 firearms related deaths certainly looks alarming, but on a percentage basis it is pretty small (unless you are closely associated with one of the people that are killed).

What is relevent for determining risk is the rate of firearms deaths. If you adjust to a per 100,000 population the rate for 30,000 firearms deaths in a population of 300,000,000 is pretty small (10/100,000 population [0.1/1,000]). When the 10,000 murders are calculated the rate becomes 3.3/100,000 [0.03/1,000] or 3.3 murders commited with a firearm per 100,000 people in this country.

It would be good to parse those muders that are criminal on criminal murders (occupational murders???) from the rest.

April 23, 2007, 11:35 AM
There are those who think that the slow agonizing death by strangling that accompanies many suicide hangings is preferable to the quick demise from a self-imposed gun shot.

That is why they toss in the suicide using firearms numbers when they are talking about deaths by "evil" firearms.

April 23, 2007, 11:48 AM
Thanks sumpnz for that link.

It is often mentioned that X nation has gun control and less firearm related homicides. I am curious to know:
1. What are other nation’s overall homicide rate per 100k?
2. What are other nation’s non-firearm related homicide rates?

What I would like to know is if the US has more, less, or the same level of non-firearm homicides than other equivalent nations? My guess is yes, but I would like to see data to confirm or deny my opinion.

April 23, 2007, 12:37 PM
It is often mentioned that X nation has gun control and less firearm related homicides. I am curious to know:
1. What are other nation’s overall homicide rate per 100k

I think that in France, the homicide rate is about half the one of the USA. These numbers don't make any difference between gun-related murders and the others.

One would be brought to think that the difference between the 2 countries would be much higher given the excessive gun control we have over here (however, it is still very easy to legally own a firearm in France, you just have to cope with a very annoying bureaucracy), but this is reality.

More gun control in the US wouldn't make the homicide rate fall down to such an extent advocated by the angry left. From a personnal perspective, I think it's much safer to have an armed population.

April 23, 2007, 12:48 PM
One of the news shows last week put the number at about 17,000 homicides per year in the US with "the majority" caused by guns. I believe they said the CDC was the source for their numbers, but I'm not positive.

Another show said that the homicide rate in the US is 6 people per 100,000 each year. If you do the math, that number corresponds closely to the 17,000-18,000 total per year.

Mongo the Mutterer
April 23, 2007, 12:58 PM
Where do they come up with this number? It is a bit obvious where they come up with the number if you look at CDC WISCARS... They LIE. Period.

The Brady bunch uses 3,800 "children" killed. A quick check of CDC with show you that less than 400 children aged 0 - 14 were killed. The rest are 15 to 19. Can you spell "gang banger"?

Lies, Obfuscation, and cover from like minded "official sounding" groups and spokespersons. Same ole song, comrade...:cuss:

April 23, 2007, 01:57 PM

April 23, 2007, 02:16 PM
What I would like to know is if the US has more, less, or the same level of non-firearm homicides than other equivalent nations?

Unfortunately not all nations collect gun crime data to compare with US data.

You will see that murder rates for the US are high when compared with most developed nations, but violent crime rates are relatively low when compared to Canada, the UK and Australia.

1 old 0311
April 23, 2007, 02:25 PM
Medical malparctice kills over 40,000 people a year. You are safer around a total moron with a junk gun than a doctor.:evil:

April 23, 2007, 05:30 PM
Great. I'd like to coin a new term here folks.

Statistical padding. :rolleyes:

March 1, 2010, 11:06 AM
Glad I checked out this hit (not Google directly, actually Dogpile). Even though the comments were 3 years old, it was helpful. Amazing how biased/erroneous information keeps popping up. Even John Lott didn't have direct information.

One thing that bothers me is that many of the researchers who have published or are publishing about "gun-related" deaths are biased and bias their data interpretations to exaggerate the information. This without the underlying prejudice that self defense is wrong or evil.

Anyway, thanks for the discussion.

March 1, 2010, 11:43 AM
Thread necromancy.....

March 1, 2010, 12:59 PM
Just remember that how many "non homicides" there are every year is as important as how many gun related deaths they may be.

For example; If the Kleck, Gertz studies are correct about aprox 2,000,000 defensive gun uses per year in this country and if only 1% of those would have resulted in a murder then gun ownership in this country prevents at least 20,000 murders a year.


Also keep in mind that since many believe ( sorry I don't have a reference for this ) that criminals will often not attempt to try and commit a crime because they fear and/or believe that the would be victim was armed that many more murders were prevented then just the 20,000 above.

Here is a good link about the per capital rate of murder for various countries. Keep in mind that Russian citizens have not been able to own handguns for self defense for a long time.


March 1, 2010, 04:53 PM
Here is an excerpt from the CDC data for 2005 and a link to the report. Happy reading.


Firearm—In 2005, 30,694 persons died from firearm injuries in the United States (Tables 18–20), accounting for 17.7 percent of all injury deaths in 2005. Firearm suicide and homicide, the two major component causes, accounted for 55.4 percent (suicide) and 40.2 percent (homicide) of all firearm injury deaths in 2005. From 2004 to 2005, the age-adjusted death rate for firearm injuries increased by 2.0 percent from 10.0 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population to 10.2 (Tables 18–20). In 2005, males had a firearm-related age-adjusted death rate that was 6.8 times the rate for females, and the black population had a rate that was 2.2 times the rate for the white population. The non-Hispanic white population had a rate that was 1.2 times the rate for the Hispanic population, and the non-Hispanic black population had a rate that was 2.6 times the rate for the Hispanic population (Tables 19 and 20).

March 1, 2010, 05:07 PM
Anti gunners are of course, LIARS.

It is an unfortunate thing though, that the majority of firearm deaths are suicides.

And, it is equally unfortunate, mostly men.

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