Study Finds 90 Percent of Gun Violence Occurs Outside of International Armed Conflict

| by Dabney Bailey
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War is hell. Based on a new study, it might be more appropriate to amend that famous quote to “Daily life is hell.”

The Graduate Institute in Geneva recently released a study revealing that a whopping 90 percent of gun deaths are caused outside of international armed conflict. The study found that approximately 526,000 people died from guns worldwide between 2004 and 2009, and most of those deaths did not involve international conflicts or wars.

The Graduate Institute also estimates that civilians dwarf the military forces of the world by owning about 75 percent of the 875 million firearms worldwide. That translates into about 656 million guns in the hands of civilians and 219 million guns owned by military forces, or about 1 gun for every 8 people. This statistic includes all forms of handheld firearms, from revolvers and hunting rifles to machine guns and assault rifles. Stationary weapons like ships’ turrets are not included in these figures.

The study also argues that the economics surrounding firearms has a direct impact on armed conflict. "We see that ammunition prices are, in fact, following levels of fatalities in Syria,” said senior researcher Glenn McDonald. He pointed to an incident in Syria when the rise in price of ammo cartridges caused Syrian fighters to dump FN FAL rifles in favor of AK 47s, which had cheaper ammunition.

Further, the study found that between 40 to 70 percent of female murder victims were killed by an intimate partner, often with a gun. The researchers noted that these numbers spike if the woman keeps a gun in her home.

Overall, the study does not paint a very positive picture of firearms. The fact that guns kill so many people isn’t very surprising. What is shocking is just how many of those deaths are caused by civilians, and that there is such a huge number of guns in the world. 

Source: Huffington Post