Study Shows Rates of Global Deaths by Firearm

Results taken on worldwide, regional and national levels

A study led by a researcher from the University of Washington recently compared the rates of global deaths by firearm in 2016 when compared to the rate from 1990.

The idea behind the study was to expose how access to firearms can explain the disparity in related deaths across different parts of the world.

With just over a quarter-million people (251,000) dead due to firearms in 2016, over 50 percent of those occurrences originated in one of six countries—Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, United States, Venezuela).

A majority (64 percent) were due to homicide, while suicides accounted for 27 percent and accidents another 9 percent. The researchers found an annual decrease in age-standardized firearm deaths of 0.9 percent between 1990 and 2016.

Interestingly, in an editorial article about the study published in JAMA, Dr. Frederick P. Rivara of the Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at the University of Washington wrote, “For individuals living in the United States, where the national policy debate has focused largely on interpersonal violence, the study provides a reminder of the importance of firearm suicide. In 2016, there were two firearm suicides for every firearm homicide, a margin that has widened over the past decade as suicide rates have increased and homicide rates have been relatively flat.”

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