Gun control really works. Science has shown time and again that it can prevent mass shootings and save lives.
- On Saturday, a gunman opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people. Less than 24 hours later, a man shot and killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio.
- Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 39,773 people in the US die from firearms every year.
- Despite some restrictions on gun control research, scientists have evaluated how certain policies affect gun deaths.
- Strict background checks, limiting access to assault weapons, and prohibiting domestic abusers from owning weapons are all policies associated with reduced rates of gun violence.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
On Saturday, a gunman opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people and injuring dozens of others before being arrested. The incident is being investigated as an act of domestic terror.
Less than 24 hours later, a man in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people, including his own sister, and wounded 27 others before he was killed by police.
Last weekend, a 19-year-old killed three people (including two children) and injured 13 before fatally shooting himself at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California.
Already in 2019, the US has seen 255 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization that tracks these incidents. Thus far, 8,787 people have died and 17,463 people have been injured by firearms this year across the country.
President Donald Trump has suggested that poor mental health and violent video games could be to blame for the actions of the two gunmen this weekend, but scientific research doesn't support those claims. Experts have repeatedly shown that mental-health issues are not predictive of violence, and while some evidence does link video games with aggression, that's not the same as violence.
Here's what the data shows.
In 2017 — the most recent year for which data is available — 39,773 people in the US died from firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Gun violence is one the most poorly researched causes of death in America, according to a 2017 study.
Researchers do know, however, that the annual number of people who died from firearm injuries worldwide rose from 209,000 to 251,000 between 1990 and 2016.
The chart below shows an American's odds of dying in a gun assault or a mass shooting as of last year, as compared to other causes of death.
In remarks following the El Paso and Dayton shootings, President Trump blamed "gruesome video games" and "mentally ill monsters" for the violence. A wealth of research contradicts both of claims.
A study published in February supports those findings: Having a mental illness does not make a person more likely to commit gun violence. A better indicator was their access to firearms.
There is a link between reduced access to guns and lower rates of suicide.
Barring people convicted of domestic abuse from owning guns also decreases the number of gun deaths.
After Congress let a 1994 ban on assault weapons expire in 2004, gun massacre deaths skyrocketed.
If US law makers do make policy changes, banning high-capacity magazines and renewing the assault weapons ban should be at the top of their lists, one researcher said.
There's a widening gap between the number of gun deaths in states with relaxed gun-control laws and states with more restrictive policies, according to a study published in March.
States that have stricter background-check laws for gun purchases have fewer school shootings.
Last year, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma called for gun policies that they say will make Americans safer, including removing firearms from domestic-violence perpetrators and regulating the sale of semi-automatic weapons.
Earlier this year, researchers at Johns Hopkins University pinpointed 10 policies that could reduce gun violence in the state of Illinois. Their recommendations are similar to the surgeons' list.
These recommendations mirror some of Switzerland's gun policies. In that country, nearly one in four people legally owns a gun, but there hasn't been a mass shooting in almost two decades.
Most Swiss citizens aren't allowed to carry their guns in public — getting a concealed-carry permit is difficult for people who don't work as security officers or police.
Research shows that states that require background checks on all gun sales had 35% fewer gun deaths per capita between 2009 and 2012.
Rates of accidental shootings are also higher when people — especially children — are around more guns.
Many accidental gun deaths can be avoided, though, if gun owners lock up their firearms.
Longer prison sentences for crimes involving a gun — like armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon — have also been shown to help reduce violent firearm use.
Replacing medium- and large-caliber weapons with small-caliber guns would dramatically reduce gun deaths as well, according to data from the Boston Police Department.
Weapons buy-back programs have been successful in reducing mass shootings.
The US has a higher rate of gun violence than any other similarly wealthy country.
- I took a new job in a remote location after my divorce. There aren't many people to date, but I'm happy staying single.
- Elon Musk hits out at viral videos of DINK couples, saying there's an 'awful morality' to those who choose not to have children
- Married couples often share high blood pressure, study shows
- 8 Irresistible seasonal snacks to warm your winter days
- Vijay Shekhar Sharma says 'Wed in India' is a good idea for its food options
- NCLAT stays CCI penalty on NTPC in Ratnagiri Gas & Power shares issue
- A Japanese Start-Up Is Testing a Rocket Powered Entirely By Rocket Fuel Created From Cow Dung!
- Amazon sues scammers for stealing millions of dollars via fake returns