Saturday, April 27, 2013

The increasing chances of being shot

Americans' risks of being shot by a gun were higher in 2011 than a decade earlier.

The figure below shows figures from the Centers for Disease Control WISQARS database supplemented with preliminary mortality data for 2011 on people in the U.S. who either suffered a non-fatal firearms injury (the blue bars) or were killed by a firearm (the red bars). The sum of the figures indicates the total number of people who were shot.

In 2011, just over 106,000 people were shot in the U.S., or about one out of every 2,940 Americans. Just over 32,000 of these shooting injuries were fatal. A decade earlier just under 93,000 people were shot (about one out of every 3,080 Americans) with just under 30,000 fatalities. When you adjust for the increase in the population and average the changes across all 11 years, the chances of being shot rose by 0.8% per year.

Nearly two-thirds of these shootings were assaults and homicides; figures appear below. In 2011, there were just under 67,000 firearms assaults and homicides compared to just over 52,000 a decade earlier. Adjusting for population growth and averaging changes across years, the chances of an American suffering a homicide or an assault injury at the end of a gun climbed by 1.7% per year.

Accidental shootings were down over the decade, falling from 18,500 in 2001 to 15,500 in 2011. Adjusting for population size and averaging the changes over the decade, the chances of being accidentally shot fell by 2.3% per year. While the gun accident figure might seem encouraging, it is worth considering that the chances of being accidentally cut or stabbed fell even more (2.6% per year).

More guns, more shootings, more misery.