A new study by Cleveland State University has found that gun violence affects one out of every 314 Americans.
Ned Hill, the dean of Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State, led the study. He found that the number of gun-related deaths has gradually increased since the 1990s. This statistic includes all forms of gun violence: accidental deaths, suicides, murders, and deaths caused by law enforcement.
Of these, suicides stood as the leading cause of gun-related deaths. Hill also found that gun suicides were much more common in the West and South, where firearms are more common. The study does not conclude whether this is because of a direct cause and effect relationship (more guns lead to more suicides), or if these two statistics are unrelated.
The study found that each year, about 32,000 people are killed by firearms in the US. The number of firearm-related injuries is more than twice that at about 73,000 people per year.
To put these numbers into perspective, 989,023 people have been killed or wounded by gunfire between 2001 and 2010. By comparison, 418,500 Americans died from the World War II conflict.
The Centers for Disease Control concluded that there were 2,468,435 deaths in 2010, which means that firearms accounted for approximately one percent of all deaths in America. The CDC lists suicide as the tenth most common cause of death, though this includes all forms of suicide.
Of these 989,023 Americans who were killed or injured from firearms, murder accounts for a relatively smaller number at 12%. Four percent suffered self-inflicted wounds, 18% committed suicide, and nearly half received injury as part of an armed assault.
These numbers may be surprising to some, especially since stories about murders have a disproportionately high presence in the media. Based on these statistics, gun violence in general and suicide, rather than murder, should be at the heart of the gun control debate.