Cartoon by Paolo Calleri

Deadly cost of America’s gun obsession

The New Statesman: Just a month and a half after an 18-year-old entered an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday and killed 21 people, 6 people have been killed in a mass shooting at an Independence Day parade in Illinois. The United States has the highest share of gun-related deaths among all developed countries, and one of the highest in the world.

There were 39,682 deaths from firearms in the US in 2019, or around 12.1 deaths for every 100,000 people, according to figures compiled by researchers at the University of Sydney (including homicides, suicides and accidents). Austria and Switzerland, which have some of the highest concentrations of guns in Europe, had more than four times fewer gun deaths when adjusted for population.

Since 1999, nearly 700,000 Americans have died from firearms, which is more than America suffered in both world wars. Across the world, the US has the tenth-highest gun mortality rate.

Research has shown that firearm-related deaths are distributed unequally across the US, with black Americans disproportionately at risk of being victims of gun violence at 15.6 homicides per 100,000 people, compared with 1.8 per 100,000 among white Americans.

A 2020 study found that some forms of gun control, such as limiting children’s access to guns and restricting concealed carry permits and “stand your ground” policies could significantly reduce gun deaths.