Cold, hard gun facts

The numbers tell the story

The numbers tell the story

You can hear all kinds of dubious “facts” thrown around by people on both sides of the gun issue, but here are a few statistics that are beyond dispute.

• In the weeks since the Newtown massacre, the U.S. racked up more than 2,500 gun deaths, slightly more than 30 people a day lost to firearms. Nowhere on the planet do human beings who aren’t at war kill each other with firearms at that rate.

• For every person who dies in a gun homicide in Canada, six people die by gun violence in the United States.

• The USA accounts for just about 5 percent of the world’s population, but half of all the world’s guns in private hands are found here.

• It’s predicted that by 2015 the annual number of American deaths by guns will exceed the annual number of deaths in car accidents.

• Between 2006 and 2011, 680 American kids under 13 were killed by guns.

• Men commit homicide 10 times more often than women do.

• Two out of three women killed by their husbands are killed with guns.

• Assaults on women are a dozen times more likely to be fatal when a gun is involved than assaults with any other weapon.

• More than a million Americans have died of gun violence since 1968, the year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

• There have been 43 mass shootings just since 2009. Four or more people died in each of those. That averages out to one bloodbath a month. Concerns about the mental health of the shooter had been raised in advance of only four of those shootings.

• Add up all the soldier, sailors and airmen who have died in America’s wars, and all those dead Americans still don’t equal the number who have perished by firearms on our streets and in our homes just since 1960.

• Six million guns are sold each year without background checks of any kind.

• More than 10,000 illegal guns have been confiscated in California since 2007.

• There are more than 300 million firearms in the U.S., some registered, many not. The year before the nation lost 3,000 people in the Sept. 11 attack, more than twice that many people died due to gun violence. Pick a random year in this century, say 2005, and you’ll learn that slightly more than 7,500 Americans were victims of handgun homicide during that 12-month period. Of course, that doesn’t count the far larger number of suicides committed with pistols.