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gunsIt’s hard not to feel like America is full of gun-toting nutjobs whose only purpose is to kill others, in the wake of the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, CT last week. The media plays it up, as do the politicians. Along with those two factors, the rest of the world just can’t wait to shove it in American faces about how low their gun death rates are compared to America’s. Unsurprisingly, those arguing AGAINST guns seem quite unwilling to countenance the actual, statistical information regarding guns and gun-related deaths in America.

Oddly enough, the website www.gunpolicy.org, (GP)which is hosted by the Sydney School of Public Health at Sydney University, has a number of remarkable stats regarding gun ownership and gun related deaths in the United States.

According to GP, the estimated number of civilian gun owners in the US is approximately 270 million. America’s total population, from the latest census data, is approximately 311 million. Now, the gun numbers probably don’t account for single individuals owning multiple firearms, but, assuming it means that’s one gun for one person all the way through, almost 3/4 of the population of the US legally owns a gun. So we are indeed a gun-toting nation, if you will, but not necessarily a violent gun-toting nation.

Also at GP are the numbers of gun-related deaths. When compared to the two stats mentioned above, the actual truth is that gun-related deaths are essentially statistically insignificant. Most of the stats to be shared below are drawn directly from this page.

Yearly Gun Homicide Totals dating back to 2009:

  • 2009 : 9,146
  • 2008 : 9,484
  • 2007 : 10,129
  • 2006 : 10,225
  • 2005: 10,158
  • 2004 : 9,385
  • 2003 : 9,659
  • 2002 : 9,369
  • 2001 : 8,890
  • 1999 : 8,259
  • 1998 : 9,257

So, for the last 14 years, in this nation of 311,000,000, we’ve topped out at a little over 10,000 gun-related homicides in any given year. But again, listen to the media, the politicians, or the rest of the world, and you’d believe that people are going around murdering each other with guns like it’s a hobby.

Rate of Gun Homicide, per 100,000 people: 

  • 2009 : 2.98
  • 2008 : 3.12
  • 2007 : 3.36
  • 2006 : 3.42
  • 2005 : 3.43
  • 2004 : 3.20
  • 2003 : 3.3
  • 2002 : 3.25
  • 2001 : 3.12
  • 1999 : 2.97
  • 1998 : 3.37
  • 1993 : 7.07

Once again, the numbers are infinitesimally small but, you wouldn’t know that because of the way the narrative is sold through the media and their masters, the politicians.

Number of Unintentional Gun Deaths : 

(I’m not sure why there are only two years for this set, but that’s how GP has it set up).

  • 2005 : 789
  • 2001 : 802

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death, Per 100,000 People : 

  • 2005 : 0.27
  • 2001 : 0.27
  • 1993 : 0.59

Now, pointing this out is not meant to denigrate the lives lost, or the tragedy that surrounds those lives lost. But, for whatever reason, our media finds this narrative unpalatable and refuses to report on it, even with their failing claims of “objective” reporting.

But, if the time IS now for an honest and difficult conversation about guns in this culture, you would hope that the numbers shared above would be part of the discussion. Unfortunately, it feels like the conversation is going to be ran by emotion, if social media is any gauge of how things are in these days following the loss of those children and teachers in Newtown.

Regardless, the United States IS NOT a nation full of gun-toting, homicidal maniacs. Most guns in this country probably go unused, or if they aren’t, are only used for recreation.