Guns and Death

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Death by Firearms in the US


In the developed world, frequent gun violence is a uniquely American problem. Let's get a snapshot of deaths by firearm in the US - below we're plotting out the rate per 100K population.

  • Alaska has the highest death rate per 100K.
  • Massachusetts has the lowest rate.
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Estimate of Civilian-Held Firearms Worldwide


Many believe that the rate of gun deaths is extremely closely tied to gun ownership. The US is an outlier on gun violence because it has way more guns than other developed nations. As of 2017, in the US, there are more guns than there are people - below we're plotting out the number of civilian-held firearms per 100 persons.

  • America has almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world.
  • The number of civilian-held firearms per 100 individuals stands at 120%.
  • No other country in the world even comes close.
  • Yemen comes in second it seems, currently quagmired in a years-long civil war and humanitarian disaster.
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Gun Ownership vs Death Rates


Ok,let's get a sense of how gun ownership correlates with gun deaths. Below we are plotting the death rate (per 100K of the civilian population) by firearm vs the gun ownership rate (guns per 100 persons).

  • Among developed nations, the US clearly stands out.
  • A lot of the countries with higher death rates by firearm are Central & South American countries, like Honduras, El Salvador, Guatamala, and Colombia are engaged in internal conflicts and deal with excessive levels of gang violence - many of which the US itself has played its part in.
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Global Arms Trade


Let's come at the arms issue from another angle. What drives and intensifies a lot of internal conflicts and civil wars around the world is the developed countries arms deals with said countries. For example, it is well known that the humanitarian atrocities carried out by Saudi Arabia in Yemen are done so with US and UK weapons.

The two graphics below highlight the top arms importers and exporters around the world. Units are in Trend Indicator Values expressed as millions of US dollars at 1990s prices, as estimated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). These numbers may not represent real financial flows as prices for the underlying arms can be as low as zero in the case of military aid.

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To Whom Does the US Export?

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The figures mapped above are SIPRI Trend Indicator Values (TIVs) expressed in millions of arms exports from United States, 2017-2018. Some countries are omitted if the export value of deliveries is less than 0.5MM. The data was generated on 22 June 2019.