Gun crime statistics in the U.S.

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Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Gun violence is one of the most widely-discussed topics in American society. Gun-related accidents and crimes take place literally every day. Shocking statistics of deaths and injuries as a result of gun violence can’t be missed. According to Gunviolencearchive.org, 51,700 incidents occurred in 2014 in the United States. More than 12,000 people were killed and 23,000 injured in accidents involving firearms. Perhaps the most terrible fact is that 628 children were killed or injured as a result of gun accidents last year.

Looking at 2015, 28,489 incidents involving firearms occurred from January to July. In the first seven months of the year, 7,308 people were killed and 14,709 were injured in the U.S.

Accidental shootings are also a tragic part of gun incidents. The total number of accidental shootings was 1,598 in 2014, compared to 1,065 in 2015. In 2014, 1,584 incidents involving the defensive use of firearms were documented, versus 682 similar incidents in the first seven months of 2015.

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One of the biggest problems with gun ownership is the possibility of crimes and mass shootings that cannot be predicted. The United States has suffered from mass shootings many times, and the most tragic ones will always be in the memory of every American. One of the deadliest mass shootings took place in 2007 when a single gunman shot 32 people and wounded 17 others on the campus of Virginia Tech Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia before committing suicide. This example shows how dangerous and unpredictable the gun culture can be in the U.S.

In 2014, the total number of mass shootings, which claimed lives of hundreds of people, was 284. There were 184 documented mass shooting incidents from January to July of 2015. The main motive that drives people to commit mass shootings is mental illness. The problem here is when a person becomes a weapon bearer, he or she can be strong mentally, but after some time and possibly certain experiences, the person may become mentally unstable. It seems to be very hard to recognize psychopaths and their true intentions when they want to obtain a firearm.

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In theory, more guns mean less crime. Some studies, including a publication in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, suggest that gun ownership is positively affecting gun violence. America has a very high gun ownership rate, but gun crimes have terrible statistics.

President Barack Obama responded to shooting attacks in Louisiana in late July of 2015. After the tragedy in a local theater ended with two deaths, Obama revealed that one of his biggest frustrations was his inability to pass stricter gun laws.

Another mass shooting occurred on August 2, 2015, when a group of unidentified men opened fire in Brooklyn, New York. As a result, nine people were injured but survived. It was one of four incidents that happened overnight in East New York.  In the face of repeated gun killings, it looks like only strict control and a better approach to gun licensing can reduce the number of tragic incidents, including mass shootings, in the U.S.

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About Pavel Prikhodko

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Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Pavel has worked for many years as a researcher and developer on a wide range of applications (varying from mechanics and manufacturing to social data, finance and advertising), building predictive systems and trying to find stories that data can tell.

In his free time, he enjoys being with his family.

Other posts by Pavel Prikhodko:

4 thoughts on “Gun crime statistics in the U.S.”

  1. Interesting article. Gun-related violence is something we all need to be concerned about. However, I wish a different image had been chosen to accompany the article. The photo of a Black or Latino male in a hoodie, gun in hand, could be perceived to reinforce stereotypes about minorities. It might have been better to take race out of the picture by using an image that only showed a gun. Just a suggestion.

  2. Perhaps the most terrible fact is that nearly three times as many children were killed as a result of parental abuse or neglect than gun accidents.

  3. There are numerous things wrong with this article, starting with the repeated substitution of normative opinions for data-backed findings. “…gun crimes have terrible statistics” is not an argument and in no way serves as a rebuttal of the extensively peer-reviewed and refine Harvard study that you so casually mentioned in the smallest counterpoint paragraph known to the academic world.

    You also go out of your way to say that the Virginia Tech shooting was encouraged, or at least provoked by “gun culture”. No hard data to used here, just another unbacked opinion. “Gun culture”, as you think you understand it, is no more responsible for mass shootings than knife-culture is responsible for the knifing sprees, and vehicle-culture is responsible for people using trucks and vans to murder people abroad.

    Stricter gun laws just haven’t worked in areas where politicians have enacted even the most strict regulations on ownership. Scapegoating guns as the problem will not address the greater issue that why people are driven to commit violence. The majority of mass shooters don’t make it to trial, so in liberal progressive’s haste to punish something to prove they are responsive overlook or ignore that the real problem is addressing the root causes of violent behavior and how to effectively diagnose and treat those prone to violence, whether it be related to mental capacity or to ideology.

    Violence can occur with or without a gun, and since a gun increases the efficiency of violence, that makes a gun a tool.

    Supposing that stricter control over ownership of a tool will end individuals motivations to commit violence makes you a tool.

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