1. The United States has a very high rate of firearm death
Using recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO), this paper provides striking evidence on the size of the U.S. problems of gun homicide, overall homicide, gun suicide, and unintentional gun death compared to other advanced countries — for both genders and every age group.
Richardson, Erin G; Hemenway, David. Homicide, suicide and unintentional firearm fatality: Comparing the United States with other high-income countries, 2003. Journal of Trauma. 2011; 70:238-43.
2. The risks of a gun in the home typically far outweigh the benefits
This article summarizes the scientific literature on the health risks and benefits of having a gun in the home for the gun owner and his/her family and concludes that for most contemporary Americans, the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit.
Hemenway, David. Risks and benefits of a gun in the home. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2011; 5:502-511.
3. More guns, more violent death
This book chapter summarizes the scientific literature on the relationship between levels of household gun ownership and violent death. It also shows that the majority of suicides for all age groups, and homicides for children and aging adults, occur at home.
Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. Firearms and violent death in the United States. In: Webster DW, Vernick JS, eds. Reducing Gun Violence in America. Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.
4. Better mental health treatment may help but effective legislation is crucial to reduce gun violence
This editorial, in a leading psychiatric journal makes the case that effective legislation, including universal background checks, is urgently needed, and could substantially reduce our country’s firearms death toll.
Brent, David; Miller, Matthew; Loeber, Rolf; Mulvey, Edward P; Birmaher, Boris. Ending the silence on gun violence. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2013; 52:333-38.
5. Per capita U.S. gun deaths vastly exceed all other high-income countries
We examined 2010 mortality data obtained from the World Health Organization for populous, high-income countries (n = 23). U.S. homicide rates were 7 times higher than in other high-income countries, driven by a gun homicide rate that was over 25 times higher. The overall firearm death rate in the United States from all causes was 10 times higher. Ninety percent of women, 91% of children aged 0 to 14 years, 92% of youth aged 15 to 24 years, and 82% of all people killed by firearms in all these countries were from the United States.
This article updates and expands our previous, highly-cited article that provided the data showing how bad the U.S. is in terms of violent death — particularly firearm death — compared to the other advanced nations. It is virtually impossible to see these data and still claim that guns in the U.S. promote safety rather than death.
Grinshteyn E, Hemenway D. Violent death rates: The United States compares to other high-income OECD Countries. American Journal of Medicine. 2016; 129:266-73.