The Rise of Gun Violence in America

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Olivia Gamez and Jordan Conrad

Over the years there has been a steady increase of gun violence in the United States. According to the Gun Violence Archive, so far in 2022 there have been at least 31,794 deaths caused by firearm violence. and from 2019-2021 there was an increase of 5,470 deaths per year due to assault by a ranged weapon. This uptick correlates to America’s lack of gun regulations and the accessibility of guns in America.

Compared to the rest of the US, states in the Southeast have a higher firearm mortality rate. States in the South such as Missouri, Louisiana, and Mississippi have an average death rate of 25.6 firearm deaths per 100,000 people. States that are not in this region, such as Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire have an average death rate of about 5.5 deaths per 100,000 people (CDC). According to the CDC, southern states such as these have a higher gun violence mortality rate by about 20.1 deaths compared to other states. This is a result of the differing gun laws across the United States, as each state has its own measures and laws in place. 

Discrimination is in direct correlation with gun violence. A large proportion of these deaths are people from communities of color, women, or other marginalized groups. As reported by Amnesty International, the leading cause of death for young adult black males in 2017 was death by ranged assault weapons. This death rate was 10 times as great in comparison to their white counterparts. In many US states, regardless of location, the majority of homicides by firearm are directed towards minority communities.

Compared to other countries internationally, the US has a significantly greater gun violence issue. New Hampshire has one of the lowest rates of firearm homicide in the US but that rate is equivalent to that of Pakistan and five times greater than Europe as a whole. In comparison with countries of similar economic status as the US, there is a drastic difference in the number of firearm related deaths. According to the UN Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation, compared to even the country with the second highest firearm death rate (Cyprus) the US stands out with approximately 3.336 more deaths per 100,000 people. When only evaluating childhood deaths by assault weapon, the results are similar in that the US has a dramatically higher death rate than any other nation.

A large component of this is due to school shootings, which is increasingly uncommon in most of the other countries worldwide. Each year 3 million children are exposed to shootings, with a large proportion of them occurring in schools ( According to a world population review, the United States has had 288 school shootings in 2022, as opposed to countries like France, which have had 2. School shootings are a uniquely American crisis, and one that has not yet been solved. The US remains an international outlier in regards to gun violence around the world.

As stated by,  the United States there are 8 million new small arms and 15 billion rounds of ammunition manufactured every year. In 45 states you are allowed to openly carry an assault weapon in public. However, in only seven states you must provide reasonable justification or a credible need to carry a concealed firearm. The Federal Assault weapons ban that was implemented in 1994 expired in 2004. There has been little effort to renew the ban, allowing possession of firearms with magazines capable of holding 10 rounds of ammunition. One of the major factors in the high rate of firearm mortality in the US is the accessibility and the excess production of these firearms. More guns is equivalent to an increase in gun deaths, whether it be a gang shootout in California, a suicide in Wyoming or a school shooting in Texas.