Archive for June 7th, 2022

How many gun-related deaths in the U.S. last year?

June 7, 2022

And while we’re at it, how many Fentanyl-related deaths?
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With the understandable recent concern about gun-related deaths, I did some data digging.

For the record:

I consider each and every homicide to be a tragedy.

I have never owned a gun or shot a gun … and I have no plans to do either.

But, I do support Constitutional rights that are explicit in the Constitution.

Gotta follow “the science” and the data, right?

Pew — an unbiased source if there is one — has crunched the numbers, compiled mostly by the “scientists” at the CDC.

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The answer to the headline question:

In 2021 — according to the CDC — there were 45,222 firearms-related deaths in the U.S.

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The 45,222 is a much lower number than I expected … and drilling down further…

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Suicides – Homicides

According to Pew & the CDC, more than half of the 45,222 gun-related deaths were suicides (24,292) …  homicides totaled 19,384 – about 50 each day.

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There were 611 law enforcement-related gun deaths in 2021 (they’re lumped into the 3% “other” category).

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Mass murders.

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 (excluding the shooters).

Using this broad definition, 513 people died in these incidents in 2020.

Pew’s conclusion: The fatalities in mass shooting incidents in the U.S. account for a very small fraction  of all gun murders that occur nationwide each year.

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Firearms

According to FBI data analyzed by Pew. Handguns were the instrument of death in the vast majority of gun-related deaths.

“Rifles” – the category that includes guns sometimes referred to as “assault weapons” – were involved in 3% of firearm murders.

Note: Though Pew doesn’t draw a correlation, it’s probably not coincidental that the “rifle” numbers and the “mass murder” numbers are essentially the same.

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School Killings

According to James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University who has been tracking these events for decades and helps keep the AP/USA Today/Northeastern Mass Killing database:

School massacres like the one in Uvalde are exceptionally rare events. They actually occurred more often in the 1990s than recently.Source

Prof. Fox notes that school shootings are undeniable tragedies, but that “the annual odds that an American child will die in a mass shooting at school are nearly 10 million to 1, about the odds of being killed by lightning or of dying in an earthquake.” Source

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Drug Overdose Deaths

For perspective, let’s draw a comparison…

According to WebMD – channeling the CDC:

U.S. deaths attributed to drug overdoses topped 100,000 last year for the first time.

Specifically, in 2021, drug overdose deaths increased 15% to 107,622 … more than double the number of gun-related deaths … and quadruple the number of gun-related homicides.

Fentanyl accounted for 71,238 deaths … almost 3 out of 4 drug overdose deaths

In 2022. with Fentanyl flowing freely across the southern border, it’s widely expected that Fentanyl-related deaths will soar.

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Something seems out of whack, doesn’t it?


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