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30,000 U.S. Deaths From Firearms A Year, Work Loss Costs Of Deaths And Wounds $40 Billion

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 21:17
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 Over 30 000 people die annually in the United States from injuries caused by firearms. Although most firearm laws are enacted by states, whether the laws are associated with rates of firearm deaths is uncertain.

Between 2007 and 2010, there were 121 084 firearm fatalities in the United States, including 73 702 firearm suicides and 47 382 firearm homicides. The overall firearm fatality rate was 9.9/100 000 individuals per year.   The average state-based firearm fatality rates varied from a high of 17.9 (Louisiana) to a low of 2.9 (Hawaii) per 100 000 individuals per year. That’s according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine

States with so-called “Stand Your Ground” gun laws see about 30 percent more child firearm injuries compared to states without such laws, according to recent research. Males were 36 times more likely to be hospitalized for a firearm injury than females, while black youths were four times more likely. Hispanic youth, people living in urban areas and teens over the age of 16 were also at heightened risk. 
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 Credit: JAMA

In 2010, firearms killed 68% of the 16 259 victims of homicide. In the same year, there were 38 364 suicides, of which 51% were by firearms.1 Beyond the loss of life and nonfatal traumatic injuries, the financial cost of firearm injuries is enormous. In 2005, the medical costs associated with fatal and nonfatal firearm injuries were estimated at $112 million and $599 million, respectively, and work loss costs were estimated at $40.5 billion.1  

Mass killings such as those in Columbine and Aurora in Colorado, the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, and most recently the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre have renewed debate about the need for more stringent firearm legislation. Some have called for more restrictions on gun purchases.3 Others have called for arming teachers.4 It is challenging to calculate the exact number of firearm laws: a single law may have multiple parts; laws are potentially passed at the national, state, county, and city level; and there is no repository available for tallying these laws.5 The factoid that there are “20 000 laws governing firearms”5 has been erroneously quoted since 1965, but the most recent and reliable estimate, performed in 1999, counted about 300 state firearm laws.6 

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The real question is not about the number of firearm laws but whether the laws ultimately safeguard the citizens they are intended to protect. Although multiple studies have examined the relationship between federal and state firearm laws and homicide and suicide rates, the overall association between firearm legislation and firearm mortality is uncertain and remains controversial.  For the specific legislative categories, only background checks had a significant relationship across all outcomes, with stronger background checks associated with lower overall firearm fatality rates.

See the complete study here.  

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  • Unfettered

    It’s not like it’s the end of the world, nor is this anything new. People think that guns are the greatest tool but a knife can be more deadly at close range. The only reason why firearms are used so much is due to popularity and the scare tactic of having it. Preferably, I’ll take a knife since it never runs out of ammo. Be smart. Be safe.

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